You Should Maintain Great Dental Care When You Are Expecting
Pregnancy can affect nearly every aspect of a woman’s health. Yet, most of our pregnant patients are surprised to learn that pregnancy can have a profound effect on their oral health. At the cosmetic and general dentistry practice of Drs. Clifford Degel and Carmen Every-Degel, where we treat our patients like family, we are particularly pleased to welcome those patients who are preparing to expand their families with open arms by catering to their special dental needs.
What are these special needs, exactly? If you are in the early stages of your pregnancy, or you are considering becoming pregnant, it is important that you understand how pregnancy can influence the health of your teeth, gums, and overall oral health. When it comes to dental care and pregnancy, our Queens dentists are experts, as they are in all aspects of dentistry. During every stage of your pregnancy, and indeed for the rest of your life, you can count on the Astoria Dental Group team of experienced dental professionals to be your partners in exceptional oral health.
How does pregnancy affect your oral health?
From the beginning of a woman’s pregnancy to well after the birth of her child, her body is affected by hormonal and other changes that affect every part of her body, including her mouth. The effects pregnancy can have on the mouth range from the merely annoying to the potentially dangerous, including:
- Granulomas: Many pregnant women develop small but irritating growths on their gums called granulomas. On the bright side, granulomas are benign and generally disappear once a woman gives birth. On the other hand, they can be annoying, inconvenient, or even painful. Sometimes, an improvement in one’s oral hygiene routine will result in the shrinkage of these “pregnancy tumors”; however, if a woman’s granulomas persist and make it too difficult for her to eat or otherwise function, we can remove them surgically.
- Dry mouth: Hormonal changes during pregnancy can result in a decreased production of saliva, leading to dry mouth syndrome. While dry mouth is often just an annoyance, it can also contribute to gum disease. It is important that women stay hydrated during pregnancy.
- Enamel erosion: Women who suffer from morning sickness or acid reflux during pregnancy are particularly susceptible to the erosion of the enamel that protects their teeth. Enamel erosion is a serious problem; once enamel has eroded, it cannot be replaced. Teeth with worn enamel are more vulnerable to decay, breakage, and other damage.
- Gum disease: This is the most common and serious oral health problem among pregnant women. Gum disease manifests itself in two stages. The first stage, gingivitis, is the easiest to treat. Pregnant women who notice changes in their gums - in their color or texture, or in their sensitivity or the ease with which they bleed during brushing - should seek dental treatment immediately as these are signs of gingivitis. Leaving the gums untreated could result in periodontitis, the more severe stage of gum disease. During this stage, treatment becomes more difficult while serious, irreversible damage to the gums, teeth, and jawbone become increasingly likely. Gum disease at all stages is associated with an increased risk of birth complications.
How do you maintain good oral health during pregnancy?
In order to maintain good oral health during pregnancy, you must:
- Eat healthy foods that are low in sugar and acids
- Brush and floss at least twice a day and after every meal
- Use an antimicrobial mouthwash
- Visit Astoria Dental Group or, if you live outside of the Queens area, your local dentist’s office regularly
Learn More about Dental Care and Pregnancy
To learn more about dental care and pregnancy, please contact Astoria Dental Group today.