Being pregnant means dealing with changes to your entire body–including your mouth and the way your teeth stay healthy. Because your gums are living parts of your body and are affected by hormonal changes during pregnancy, you should pay attention to your oral health especially while carrying a child. Be on the lookout for these changes:

Gingivitis. The risk of gingivitis is increased during pregnancy and could lead to inflammation in the gums. Because of changes in your immune system, your body might try to fight off bacteria in your mouth differently–leading to bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth. This sensitivity is usually temporary and goes away once you give birth.

Periodontal disease. While similar to gingivitis, periodontal disease affects women by creating a bacterial pocket below the gum line. This is a more serious disease because the teeth themselves are impacted through a weakening of the fibers holding the teeth in place. Periodontal disease affects pregnant women because they may lose their teeth, and their baby is at risk for being born premature and with a lower birth weight.

Pregnancy granuloma. Some pregnant women experience a nodule growth on their gums that bleeds and can become crusty. While this is not a risk to the baby, they may affect the way you speak and feel painful. Typically, pregnant women suffer from a granuloma 2-10% of the time, and the nodule will disappear after giving birth.

Erosion of tooth enamel. Since many women have morning sickness early in their pregnancy and throughout, they are at risk for the acid to wear down the front teeth. If you have thrown up heavily during pregnancy, you may need to speak with your dentist about reinforcing your teeth.

The best things for your teeth while pregnant include eating properly and keeping up a good oral hygiene regimen. Eating calcium-heavy foods that a rich in vitamins will protect your mouth and your unborn child. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day is essential for cleaning your mouth of harmful bacteria. Flossing, using mouthwash, and regular visits to the dentist are also necessary as your baby’s health is a number one priority. To talk to a trained dentist that understands the difficulties of maintaining oral health while pregnant, call our office today.