A pregnant woman brushes her teeth in the bathroom

Does pregnancy affect your teeth?

Pregnancy is an exciting time, and it’s also a time when lots of changes occur in the body. While some are clearly related to the development of the baby, such as the rib cage expanding to allow room for the growth of the uterus, others aren’t quite so obviously linked. As well as things like cravings, morning sickness, and sleep changes, some women find that their dental health is affected over the course of their pregnancy[1].

Can pregnancy cause dental problems?

Lots of things can have an impact on your oral health, and pregnancy is one of them. Pregnancy is a major change for your body to go through, both physically and hormonally, and this can lead to a domino effect of changes elsewhere in your body.

For example, lots of women experience morning sickness during pregnancy. Vomiting involves bringing up acid from the stomach and through the mouth, and this acid can damage your teeth if left to lie. As well as ridding your mouth of the bad taste, rinsing your mouth out with water after being sick can help to remove the acid and protect your teeth. Remember not to brush your teeth immediately afterwards, as this can damage the tooth enamel while it is soft. If possible, wait at least an hour before brushing.

Fortunately, pregnant women can access free NHS dental care throughout the course of the pregnancy and up to a year after the birth of the baby. If you’re pregnant and notice something unusual about your teeth or gums, it’s a good idea to get a check up, even if just to reassure yourself[2].

Are your teeth more sensitive during pregnancy?

The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can make your teeth more susceptible to plaque build-up. This can lead to inflammation and bleeding gums, as well as making you more at risk of developing gum disease. For this reason, it’s particularly important to look after your teeth while you’re pregnant. You can upgrade your dental hygiene routine with the help of interdental cleaners such as DenTek’s Comfort Clean Floss Picks, which use a soft silk ribbon and minty fresh flavouring to allow you to clean between your teeth without causing irritation or discomfort[2].

Another thing that can cause sensitive teeth during pregnancy is grinding your teeth. Also known as bruxism, this is a habit that often forms during times of stress and anxiety, and it’s not unusual for pregnant women to grind their teeth at night. Bruxism can wear down the enamel and leave your teeth feeling sensitive to hot and cold foods and drinks. However, wearing a night-time mouth guard such as Dentek’s Maximum Protection Dental Guards which are custom-fit to your teeth to shield them from unconscious grinding and help keep sensitivity at bay[3].

Can a woman lose her teeth during pregnancy?

Gingivitis and periodontitis as a result of gum disease can make your teeth feel loose, which can be alarming. In cases where the damage is severe, you may need to have a tooth pulled. It’s uncommon for a tooth to fall out, so if you do experience this, be sure to consult your dentist. The best way to avoid tooth loss during pregnancy is to keep a good dental hygiene routine and see your dentist regularly. This way, any problems can be spotted and dealt with early[2].

Will my teeth go back to normal after pregnancy?

A lot of the dental changes you may experience during pregnancy are a result of hormonal fluctuations. Once your body settles down after having a baby, it’s likely that these problems will start to tail off. However, damage to your teeth may be harder to reverse, and it can take time for your body to adjust after the birth. Make sure to take extra care of your oral health after the baby is born to keep your teeth healthy and strong[2].

Resources:

[1] https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/finding-out/health-things-you-should-know-in-pregnancy/

[2] https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/related-conditions/common-symptoms/bleeding-gums/

[3] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/teeth-grinding/

Neil Kotak
14/7/2023
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