Last Updated on August 11, 2022 by Dr Gustavo Assatourians DDS
What causes you to lose your teeth during pregnancy?
Pregnancy is associated with a series of hormonal and behavioral changes that can predispose you to an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Certain specific factors influence oral health during pregnancy:
– Vomiting and reflux: If you suffer from a lot of vomiting in pregnancy or gastroesophageal reflux, you will have a greater risk that these stomach acids damage the enamel of the tooth and make it more susceptible to cavities.
– Change in eating habits: Some pregnant women need to eat many times a day, which causes the teeth to be exposed to food for longer periods. You can prevent this by brushing your teeth after every meal, no matter how small, and avoid sugary and sticky foods (gum, candy, etc.).
– Hormonal changes: During pregnancy, the gums can become inflamed (gingivitis) due to hormonal changes inherent to it. Gingivitis causes pain, redness, and bleeding of the gums. We cannot do anything against hormonal changes. Still, we must be consistent in oral hygiene since plaque and tartar are other risk factors that predispose you to gingivitis.
There are many beliefs related to pregnancy and oral health passed down from generation to generation. In this article, we will help you solve the most frequent doubts:
Is it true that a woman’s tooth falls out with every pregnancy?
The most common belief is that women lose a tooth with every pregnancy. However, with good oral hygiene and professional oral medical care, pregnant women’s teeth can remain healthy. The most common cause of tooth loss is cavities and periodontal disease caused by inadequate oral hygiene.
Tooth decay occurs because plaque accumulates, a sticky film with more than 400 families of bacteria that feed on sugars and starches, which ferment and turn into lactic or maleic acids. The accumulation of these acids causes the demineralization of the teeth and, with it, dental caries. Other causes of tooth decay are vomiting, reflux, and the mother’s acidic diet, which demineralizes and destroys tooth enamel. All these factors, added to the lack of hygiene and carelessness in oral health during pregnancy, can lead to tooth loss.
Are pregnant women really at higher risk of getting gingivitis?
When women are pregnant, their bodies undergo very complex changes. Many women notice that their gums are sore, swollen, or tend to bleed. These are the symptoms of gingivitis, an infection of the gum tissue. Anyone can get gingivitis. However, pregnant women are at higher risk of getting gingivitis due to hormonal changes. Left untreated, gingivitis can lead to more serious gum disease and tooth loss.
How can pregnant women prevent tooth decay and gingivitis?
Gingivitis appears in 60 to 75% of pregnant women due to hormonal variations. Estrogens and progesterone increase, and blood circulation in skin and tissues exaggerates the inflammatory response to local irritants, such as bacterial plaque or poor oral hygiene.
The best way for pregnant women to prevent cavities and gingivitis is to keep their teeth and gums clean by brushing with fluoride toothpaste three times a day, flossing once a day, and having their teeth cleaned by a dental professional. Avoiding foods that are high in sugar also helps. Brushing is compulsory after reflux and vomiting, as gastric acids erode and weaken the enamel. If cavities are already present, the only way to stop them is through treatment at your dentist’s office.
- If you have plans to become pregnant, it is essential to go to the specialist and rule out any injuries, cavities, or infections in the oral cavity.
- During pregnancy, have regular check-ups and maintenance prophylaxis to prevent gingival inflammation from progressing.
- During periods of vomiting and reflux, brush and rinse your mouth to prevent acid residues from damaging the dental structures.
- Remember that prevention is not expensive; carelessness is. If tooth decay and gingivitis are prevented or treated, pregnant women have no reason to lose teeth.
If you have any questions about this or other topics, you can contact us at Channel Islands Family Dental. We look forward to your visit and will make a timely diagnosis. Our dentists in Oxnard, Santa Paula, Ventura, and Port Hueneme will be able to guide you to the best treatment to care for your health and give you back your best smile.