Pregnancy and Oral Health: What’s the Connection?
Pregnancy is an exciting time for women, but it can also be a challenging one when it comes to taking care of their health. One area that many pregnant women overlook is their oral health. However, taking care of your teeth and gums during pregnancy is just as important as taking care of the rest of your body.
Why oral health is important during pregnancy
Research has shown that hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect a woman’s oral health. Pregnant women are more susceptible to gum disease due to an increase in progesterone, which can cause gums to become inflamed and bleed more easily. This condition is known as pregnancy gingivitis and according to the CDC, can affect up to 70% of pregnant women.
Untreated gum disease can lead to more serious problems such as periodontitis, which can cause tooth loss and damage to the supporting structures of the teeth. Additionally, bacteria from gum disease can enter the bloodstream and affect the developing baby.
Pregnancy can also cause changes in a woman’s diet and oral hygiene habits, which can further affect oral health. Cravings for sugary foods and drinks can increase the risk of cavities.
Tips for Maintaining Good Oral Health During Pregnancy
Fortunately, there are several steps pregnant women can take to maintain good oral health during pregnancy:
Schedule a dental check-up: It is important to have a dental check-up early in pregnancy, ideally in the first trimester, to identify and treat any existing dental problems. Be sure to inform your dentist that you are pregnant, as some treatments may need to be postponed until after delivery.
Practice good oral hygiene: Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily to remove plaque and prevent cavities. If you experience morning sickness, rinse your mouth with water or a fluoride mouthwash after vomiting to remove acid from your teeth. No matter how gross your mouth may feel after getting sick, it’s important not to brush immediately after doing so as brushing rubs stomach acid onto the teeth.
Watch your diet: Limit sugary foods and drinks, and opt for healthy snacks such as fruits and vegetables. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and rinse your mouth after consuming sugary or acidic foods and drinks.
Consider using mouthwash: An antimicrobial mouthwash can help reduce bacteria in the mouth and prevent gum disease. Just be sure to choose a mouthwash that is safe for use during pregnancy.
Take care of your overall health: Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, staying hydrated, and getting plenty of rest can help to reduce the risk of oral health problems during pregnancy.
Taking care of your oral health during pregnancy is important for both your own health and the health of your baby. By following these tips, you can help prevent oral health problems and maintain a healthy smile throughout your pregnancy. Don’t hesitate to give us a call about any concerns you may have regarding your oral health during this special time.
What is Biofilm?
The mouth contains a complex microbial ecosystem or system of microbiomes, that can both help and harm teeth. Biofilm, which plaque is an example of, is any collection of microorganisms that cling to each other and to a surface. It’s impossible to completely remove bacteria or eliminate microbiomes from the mouth. However, as in any ecosystem, there is a balance that is necessary to maintain a healthy equilibrium. Good oral hygiene habits, healthy choices, and a balanced diet are our way of maintaining that equilibrium so that more dangerous and harmful bacteria are reduced and kept in check.
Oral Hygiene and Biofilm
If good hygiene habits aren’t maintained then plaque and the microbiome it contains can harden and grow. This can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and cavities. After oral surgeries in particular there is a risk of infection if good habits aren’t maintained. For this reason, twice daily brushing, regular flossing, and using mouthwash are critical.
Since teeth make up a relatively small part of the overall surface area inside the mouth using an anti-bacterial mouthwash is a great way of fighting back harmful oral bacteria. By regularly brushing you force the biofilm and bacteria in your mouth to regenerate and prevent it from growing out of control.
Diet and Bacteria
Too much sugary food, or improper hygiene after consuming sugary food, can feed bacteria. Sugar is a sort of fuel for certain harmful bacteria present in your mouth. This is why candy, soda, and other sugary foods and drinks are associated with causing cavities. Similarly, too many acidic foods can throw off the oral microbiome and fuel harmful bacteria.
Healthy Choices and the Oral Microbiome
Certain habits and behaviors like smoking or nicotine use can also throw off the oral microbiome. Nicotine usage can cause dry mouth which reduces saliva which naturally helps keep the mouth at equilibrium. Additionally, a thin film can form on teeth from smoking and vaping that can trap excess bacteria. Chewing tobacco similarly can fuel particular types of bacteria.
Regular dental checkups and examinations for more serious issues are also crucial parts of maintaining good overall oral health. At Harris Dentistry we are happy to help new clients learn about good oral hygiene. Call us today to schedule an appointment at 561-241-7272.
What Foods Stain Teeth: Common Culprits
Many people wish that their teeth were whiter. One thing that you may not realize is causing your teeth to be discolored is the things that you eat. The foods you eat can actually have a significant effect on the color of your teeth. Join us at Harris Dentistry as we dive into some of the most common foods that can stain your teeth.
Coffees & Teas
Tea and coffee are both highly acidic, which can weaken the surface of your teeth, making them more susceptible to staining. Tea and coffee also both contain tannins, which help their coloring stick to your teeth. There is some evidence that having milk in your tea or coffee can help reduce the amount of staining.
Dark-colored sauces such as soy sauce, tomato sauce, and curries also cause staining. Switching to lighter or creamy sauces can help mitigate some of the staining.
Fruits & Berries
There are many vibrant fruits that can stain your teeth. Think of the fruits that can stain your clothes – pomegranates, cherries, blueberries, and blackberries just to name a few. In the same way that they can stain your clothes, they can stain your teeth.
Sodas are highly acidic thanks to their carbonation. In addition, the dyes in these drinks – including light-colored ones – can cause staining. There are also chemicals in the drink that eat away at your enamel.
How to Mitigate Staining
There are several things you can do to mitigate the effects of food on the color of your teeth. While cutting out the food listed above would be the number one way to reduce their effect, even we enjoy having them so we’ve included things you can do to reduce the staining while still enjoying your favorite foods.
- Use a straw. Using a straw when drinking your favorite beverage helps reduce the amount that the acidity and coloring of the drink come into contact with your teeth.
- Brush after you eat. Brush your teeth about 30 minutes after you eat food that can stain. It’s important to wait a little bit of time to allow the acidity in your mouth to get balanced out so you don’t cause additional damage.
- Rinse your mouth. If you cannot brush your teeth after eating, rinsing your mouth with water can help reduce the acidity of your mouth and remove some of the staining agents from your mouth.
- Visit your dentist. Having regular checkups and teeth cleanings at your dentist is a great way to help your smile stay beautiful.
In addition to providing teeth cleanings, we also proudly offer teeth whitening services in the Boca Raton area. Please give our dental office a call at 561-241-7272 to schedule an appointment for teeth cleaning or whitening.Learn About Teeth Whitening
Why Are My Teeth Stained?
To many people, a morning coffee or afternoon glass of wine is a ritual that cannot be disturbed or broken, but as there are many joys that come with those drinks there are still many enamel-straining prices. There are 3 different types of staining that can happen to your teeth and different causes. Learn more below. If you are unhappy with the color of your smile, Harris Dentistry in Boca Raton, FL can help!
Types of Stains:
Tooth discoloration can be caused by surface stains, material changes in your teeth, or a mix of the two. Tooth discoloration can be divided into three types, according to dentists:
- Extrinsic Teeth Stains: These stains are a type of discoloration that affects the outer layer of your teeth. Extrinsic stains are not as permanent as the other types, these stains will not respond to simply brushing your teeth. If there are cracks on the teeth they can become deep-set and begin to be harder to remove.
- Intrinsic Teeth Stains: This type of stain will be found on the inner layer of your teeth or the dentin. Though dentin is beneath the tooth enamel, the darkened dentin can cause the whole tooth to appear discolored.
- Age-Related Teeth Stains: Age-related teeth stains are a combination of both extrinsic and intrinsic discoloration. The core tissue of your teeth, the dentin, will naturally yellow over time causing your teeth to become discolored. Another factor that may cause your teeth to show discoloration is that the enamel of your teeth will become thinner allowing the dentin to show through.
Causes of Enamel Stains
There can be many causes when it comes to teeth stains. Certain drinks and foods can cause there to be stains on your teeth, but there can be a biological factor as well. Many times there can be ways to prevent these stains from appearing on your teeth and many that you can not control. This list can help you determine what the cause was behind the stains on your teeth.
- Food & Drink: Coffee, dark sodas, red wine, and some fruits and vegetables can be so acidic that they cause staining.
- Tobacco: Cigarettes and chewing tobacco can contribute to discoloration
- Oral Care: Tooth discoloration can be caused by poor dental hygiene, such as insufficient brushing or flossing.
- Trauma or Disease: Discolored teeth can result from any trauma, illness, or disease that impairs enamel formation in children, whether in the womb or while teeth are developing (under the age of 8). Adult teeth can sometimes become stained as a result of trauma. Discolored teeth can be caused by a number of disorders and therapies, chemotherapy and radiation, for example, cause tooth discoloration.
- Medical Treatments: There are times when some medical treatments can contribute to your teeth staining as well as some medications.
Ways to Help Clear Stains
There are a few remedies that can help lessen the impact of these causes. With help of some products, the coloration of your stains can become less apparent, but will not fully remove those stains.
- Keeping a consistent healthy oral routine – brushing twice a day and daily flossing
- Twice-yearly visit to your dentist
- Limitation of teeth-staining beverages
- At-home remedies – brushing with baking soda products
- Professional teeth whitening
If you are interested in getting your teeth back to pearly white, contact Harris Dentistry in Boca Raton, FL today for a professional teeth whitening session!Learn About Teeth Whitening