At Danville Family Dentistry, we get a lot of questions. One question we’ve heard from Hendricks County women who are pregnant is: “Is it true that pregnant women lose a tooth for every child?” No. This is a myth. However, your pregnancy can cause some changes in your oral health. That’s why good oral hygiene is important, especially while you’re pregnant.
What Changes May You Expect?
During pregnancy, you may have a higher risk of developing:
- Pregnancy gingivitis – Most pregnant women (even those in Hendricks County) will experience pregnancy gingivitis to some degree. This is a mild form of gum disease. Gingivitis causes your gums to become red, swollen and tender. Pregnancy gingivitis can start as early as your second month, but it often peaks around the eighth month. Once your baby is born, your gingivitis will eventually go away. Pregnancy gingivitis is primarily caused by increased hormone levels that enhance bacteria growth.
- Pregnancy granulomas or tumors – These are inflammatory, non-cancerous growths that may develop during your second trimester. While they may be called a tumor, they really aren’t. The exact cause of these growths is unknown, although poor oral hygiene is suspected to be a primary factor. Typically, these growths are found near the upper gum line, but they can be found anywhere in your mouth. These growths can bleed easily, crust over and cause discomfort. Normally, they will shrink on their own after your baby is born.
- Tooth erosion – If you experience severe morning sickness which causes frequent vomiting, the enamel on the back of your front teeth can erode.
- Dry mouth – During pregnancy, some Hendricks County women may experience dry mouth with nausea. Dry mouth during this time is caused by changing hormone levels that reduce the amount of saliva you produce.
- Excessive saliva – Too much saliva can also be caused by changing hormones. Typically, you may experience excessive saliva early in your pregnancy. It usually disappears by the end of your first trimester. Excessive saliva often occurs with nausea.
What Can You Do to Take Care of Your Oral Health while Pregnant?
Some things you may need to do to minimize the effects of the above conditions include:
- Schedule an appointment with Danville Family Dentistry, located in Hendricks County, if you notice any changes in your oral health during pregnancy.
- Brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily.
- Have more frequent dental cleanings to help control gingivitis. Ask Dr. Jon Erickson if he recommends it.
- Have your pregnancy granuloma removed if it interferes with speaking or eating. Talk to Dr. Erickson to see what he recommends.
- Don’t brush your teeth immediately after vomiting. The acid in your mouth will only help to erode your teeth when you brush. Rinse your mouth with a mixture of baking soda and water, or a commercial rinse designed to reduce the acid level of your mouth.
- Drink plenty of water to help reduce dry mouth. You can also suck on ice chips or sugarless candy to stimulate saliva flow.
If you’re planning to become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, schedule an appointment at Danville Family Dentistry right away to plan your dental care during pregnancy. Call us at 317-745-4400. If you have any concerns about visiting our office while you’re pregnant, please don’t hesitate to talk to Dr. Erickson. We want you to feel safe and comfortable during your dental visits.