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Pregnancy is usually rife with plenty of changes in a woman’s body, so it’s no surprise that dental health is affected, as well. Having general dentistry done at this time can be just as crucial, and maybe even more so because of increased hormones.

It’s a fact that pregnancy hormones can cause not only gum problems but also increased acidity, leading to cavities, and even loose teeth. Increased estrogen and testosterone can loosen ligaments and bones. Vomiting can also increase more acid in the mouth, leading to dental cavities. There are things a woman can do though, to keep her teeth and gums healthy during pregnancy.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a woman should stick to the basics, for one thing. Brush at least twice a day, with a soft-bristled brush, floss daily, and use a fluoride mouthwash. Some extra precautions include rinsing with baking soda and water to decrease acidic saliva if a woman’s vomiting a lot. Get a dental exam, both before and during pregnancy to head off problems.

Wed MD suggests waiting until the second trimester of a woman’s pregnancy before getting exams, because this is the crucial time for a developing fetus. Also, stay away from dental x-rays to protect the growing fetus. If morning sickness is a problem, a woman should switch to bland toothpaste, and if possible, brushing teeth after vomiting can help. Avoid sugary snacks during pregnancy, because not only will they increase cavities, but also bacteria can be transferred from mother to child, thus increasing the chances of the fetus having dental problems.

A woman can also have dental problems after pregnancy, especially if she hasn’t taken care of her teeth during pregnancy. Gingivitis, pregnancy tumors, which are growths that develop inside the mouth, and enlargement of the gums, can increase or worsen. Getting regular checkups and cleanings during pregnancy, as well as basic general dentistry, will ensure a woman has healthy teeth during and after pregnancy.