Pregnancy is a remarkable journey marked by significant physiological changes, including hormonal fluctuations. These hormonal shifts can influence a woman’s health and oral well-being. Understanding how hormones affect oral health during pregnancy is essential for expectant mothers to maintain optimal dental care.
Research conducted by the University of Maryland School of Dentistry has shown that hormonal changes during pregnancy can increase the risk of gingivitis(1). Elevated levels of estrogen and progesterone can lead to exaggerated immune responses to dental plaque, causing gum inflammation and potentially progressing into gum disease. Regular dental cleanings and diligent oral hygiene practices are crucial to manage and prevent gingivitis during pregnancy.
A study by the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry explores the occurrence of pregnancy tumours in expectant mothers(2). Pregnancy tumours, benign growths that commonly develop on the gums during pregnancy, are thought to be influenced by hormonal imbalances. These growths can cause discomfort and may require professional dental intervention. Close monitoring by a dental professional is recommended to ensure appropriate management of pregnancy tumours.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can impact the composition and structure of tooth enamel, potentially increasing the risk of dental caries and enamel erosion. Research from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine highlights the association between hormonal changes and dental caries during pregnancy(3). Maintaining a well-balanced diet, practising good oral hygiene, and attending regular dental check-ups are essential to minimize the risk of tooth decay and enamel erosion.
The prevalence of morning sickness during pregnancy can have implications for oral health. A study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada examines the impact of morning sickness on dental health(4). The frequent exposure of tooth enamel to stomach acid can lead to enamel erosion and an increased risk of dental caries. Dentists may provide specific recommendations on preventive measures and suitable oral care products to protect against acid erosion caused by morning sickness.
The influence of hormones on oral health during pregnancy is undeniable. Expectant mothers can safeguard their oral health by understanding the potential effects of hormonal fluctuations and implementing appropriate oral care practices. Regular dental check-ups, diligent oral hygiene, and open communication with dental professionals are essential to maintaining optimal oral health during this transformative period.
Please note that the information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not substitute professional medical advice. Consult a dental professional or healthcare provider for personalized diagnosis and treatment options specific to your situation.
-  University of Maryland School of Dentistry
-  University of North Carolina School of Dentistry
-  University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine
-  Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada