Why do teeth often get worse during pregnancy?
The main reason for poorer teeth during pregnancy is the hormonal changes in the body. The increased release of progesterone causes a change in the oral flora. The gums are supplied with more blood and are therefore more sensitive. This results in bleeding and inflamed gums. But the acidity of the saliva also changes, and can damage the teeth. The pH level is more acidic than normal during pregnancy. If you also eat a lot of sweet or sour foods, the acidic load increases and can attack the tooth enamel or lead to tooth decay. Pregnancy-related changes such as frequent vomiting can also damage teeth.
Tooth complications during pregnancy
The hormonal changes have an enormous influence on the dental health of women and can lead to many problems such as tooth discolouration or rotten teeth if oral hygiene is poor. Pregnant women are particularly susceptible to the following dental diseases.
"Every child costs its mother a tooth" – every pregnant woman has likely heard this saying. But tooth loss during pregnancy is by no means normal, and modern dentistry can prevent it. Nevertheless, due to the more sensitive and softer gums, the gums can become inflamed, and gingival pockets can form. It is easier for the bacteria to hide, and they can multiply faster. The result: the teeth become loose and, in the worst cases, even fall out.
If the enamel is damaged, the tooth will be unstable and more prone to breakage. Acidic foods and the increased pH value during pregnancy, in particular, can promote disintegration of the tooth enamel. If a tooth breaks off during pregnancy, it can be treated quickly at the dentist without anaesthesia or x-rays.
Teeth are sensitive
In addition to the gums, the teeth are also more sensitive due to hormonal changes in the body. The elevated blood circulation ensures increased blood flow, which can lead to teeth that are sensitive to heat and cold.
How can one prevent bad teeth during pregnancy?
Intensive oral hygiene is essential during pregnancy. If you regularly brush your teeth twice a day and use dental floss or interdental brushes, bacteria will have no chance of causing dental disease. You can also strengthen your enamel by using a fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash.
If you feel the urge to vomit when brushing your teeth, you should at least rinse your mouth once vigorously with mouthwash and then catch up on the cleaning later. In order to protect the tooth enamel, it is important to rinse your mouth with mouthwash after vomiting or consuming acidic foods or drinks. However, you should wait half an hour before brushing your teeth, as until then there is still too much acid in the mouth.
Gently massaging with your finger or a soft toothbrush can help prevent gum inflammation. If you nevertheless experience inflammation or bleeding gums, chamomile and sage tea has a calming effect and works as a disinfectant.
In addition to thorough oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist, a healthy, low-sugar diet can also prevent dental diseases from developing during pregnancy.
Visiting the dentist during pregnancy
If you experience toothache or other dental problems during pregnancy, you should always consult a dentist as soon as possible. It is important for you to inform the doctor that you are pregnant, so that they can find the right solution. If possible, major surgery should be performed after the pregnancy. Tooth extraction should also only be performed in urgent cases, as this requires an x-ray, which should also be avoided.
Basically, at least two visits to the dentist are recommended during pregnancy, as well as professional tooth cleanings, in order to avoid possible complications. If a pregnancy is planned, it is important to go to a checkup once again beforehand in order to treat any existing dental diseases in advance.
Is it OK to have fillings during pregnancy?
Fillings are allowed during pregnancy, and are urgently needed in the case of tooth decay, as infection can spread quickly. However, no amalgam fillings are made for the dental treatment during this time; rather, plastic is used. An anaesthetic injection can be given locally, but it is not always safe for the baby. Treatment of tooth decay should nevertheless be carried out as soon as possible in order to prevent worse consequences.
Is it OK to x-ray teeth during pregnancy?
Teeth can also be x-rayed during pregnancy. In order to minimise exposure to radiation, a lead apron and lead protection for the thyroid gland are put on. Still, x-rays should only be taken if there is a dental emergency and if the images are urgently needed. They should be avoided altogether during the 1st trimester of pregnancy.