Birth Control Oral Health

How Does Birth Control Affect Your Oral Health?

The decision on when to have kids looms large in our society, and birth control is one option that allows the user to have a little more control over when their family grows larger. There are a number of birth control options on the market for both males and females, and while these options may affect your hormone levels throughout the month, it can also have consequences for your oral health. In today’s blog, we explain how certain birth control options can affect your teeth, and how to have great oral health no matter what family planning choice you make.

Birth Control and Your Teeth

Birth control can have an impact on your oral health due to the changing hormones in your body. Many forms of birth control include hormones, and when there is an uptick or sizeable fluctuation in the number or hormones in your body, it can have an impact on your health. In your mouth, these hormone changes can bring about an inflammatory response in your gums. The most common oral symptoms associated with taking birth control are sore, swollen or bleeding gums. This can happen when you take birth control, or during other life stages when hormone levels fluctuate, like during puberty or menopause.

The good news is that medical science is making it so that certain forms of birth control have lower levels of estrogen and progesterone than previous versions, so the effects of hormone fluctuations aren’t typically as severe. However, if you already have gum disease or gingivitis, even these smaller hormone changes can continue disease progression.

There are also some other lifestyle factors that can affect your oral health while on birth control. For example, women who smoke and take birth control are more likely to have blood clotting issues, which can be a problem if you need to have a tooth pulled. Also, the longer you’re on birth control, the greater the risk that gum disease becomes an issue down the road. And finally, you’ll want to talk to your dentist about what type of birth control you are taking if they want to prescribe you with medication for a dental problem. Mixing medications can decrease the effectiveness of one or both medications, so to ensure everything remains effective, have a simple conversation with your dentist.

Dental Clinic in Bloomington, MN

If you are concerned about what a certain type of birth control might do to your oral health, ask your doctor about lower hormone options. Also, to reduce your risk of gum disease no matter what form of birth control you choose, make sure you are brushing your teeth at least two times a day, regularly flossing and getting semi-annual cleanings and checkups. If you need to schedule your next dental visit, or you simply want to learn about other ways in which you can prevent gum disease, reach out to Dr. Brooks and his dental team at Smile For Life Dental in Bloomington.

Pregnancy and Oral Health

Pregnancy and Oral Health – 5 Things You Should Know

A number of expecting mothers are very cognizant about their diet and exercise habits in the months leading up to their due date, but many of them of them don’t pay as close attention to their dental health. It’s always important to care for your oral health, but it’s especially important during pregnancy because failing to do so can cause issues for your unborn child. Below, we take a closer look at why pregnancy can be hard on your teeth, and how to protect your teeth and your child as you navigate your pregnancy.

Caring For Your Teeth During Pregnancy

Here are five things you should know about how pregnancy can affect your oral health, and how to care for your teeth during pregnancy.

  1. Pregnancy-Induced Gingivitis – Up to half of women will experience what’s known as pregnancy-induced gingivitis. This develops as a result of hormonal changes throughout your body brought on by pregnancy. These hormones make it so that your gums are more sensitive, so they are more easily irritated by plaque. This can lead to red, swollen or even bleeding gums. The good news is that the condition usually resolves on its own after childbirth, but to reduce your risk of symptoms during pregnancy, you’ll want to brush and floss regularly to help prevent the buildup of potentially-irritating plaque.
  2. Managing Morning Sickness – If you are dealing with morning sickness, make sure you are caring for your mouth after an episode. Don’t let stomach acid linger on your teeth’s surfaces after morning sickness. Be sure you are rinsing your mouth and brushing your teeth after a bout of morning sickness to help protect your tooth enamel from erosion.
  3. Keep Going To The Dentist – You should still be going to the dentist for your semi-annual cleanings, even during pregnancy. It’s perfectly safe to get your normal cleaning while pregnant, and it’s even safe to get x-rays. Let your dentist know if you think you may or know that you are pregnant, but we always take precautions to minimize radiation exposure so you and your unborn child stay safe.
  4. Getting Through Brushing Nausea – If you’ve ever been pregnant, you’ve probably had cravings for specific foods or been nauseated by the smell of others. The same nauseating feeling can occur for some women when they brushing. If brushing is making you nauseous, try switching to a smaller brush head or changing toothpastes to one with a less distinct flavor. Others find relief by brushing at different times throughout the day.
  5. What You Eat Helps Your Baby – Did you know that your child’s teeth begin to develop between the third and sixth month of pregnancy? Making sure you get plenty of nutrients like Vitamin A, C, and D as well as calcium and protein will help ensure they are getting what they need for healthy development. Foods high in folate and folic acid supplements can help to reduce the risk of neural tube defects.

Pregnancy and hormones can cause problems for your teeth, but if you practice good oral hygiene and are cognizant about what you put in your body, you and your baby will have a great chance of having wonderful health throughout the length of your pregnancy. For more information or to set up your next appointment, contact Dr. Brooks’ office today.

Pregnant Teeth

5 Tips For Caring For Your Teeth When You’re Pregnant

When you’re pregnant, you want to do everything in your power to live a healthy lifestyle so that your baby can have a healthy development in the womb. You take care of yourself by exercising and eating right, but you also need to take good care of your dental health during this time. If you ignore your teeth, not only will your teeth suffer, but it can actually lead to health issues that could affect your baby.

To make sure your teeth and gums are cared for during your pregnancy, we’ve compiled a list of the top five things you need to do for your teeth while you’re pregnant. If you follow the tips on this list, you’ll be doing right by you and your unborn child.

How To Care For Your Teeth When Pregnant

Here are five things you should be doing on a regular basis if you are pregnant.

  1. Brushing Twice A Day – Brushing twice a day helps to protect our teeth from cavity-causing bacteria. Pregnancy hormones can leave you an increased risk for gum disease or tooth decay, so it’s especially important that you take the time at least twice a day to protect your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste.
  2. Regular Dental Visits – As we’ve talked about on the blog in the past, it is perfectly safe to go to the dentist if you’re pregnant. Even if you need dental x-rays or an anesthetic, it’s safe as long as your let the dentist know about your condition. So whether you’re due for a cleaning or you think you might have a cavity, keep going to the dentist as you normally would despite the fact that you’re pregnant.
  3. Balanced Diet – A healthy diet is important for your growing child, but it also helps to ward off problems in your mouth. As we mentioned above, pregnancy hormones can leave you more susceptible to dental problems, so don’t add to the problem by over-consuming sugar-packed products that facilitate bacteria growth and tooth decay. Eat a range of vitamins and minerals, and be sure that your drink of choice is water.
  4. Floss – Pregnancy-related gum disease is an issue for many others, and one way to prevent against it is to ensure you remove plaque and other particles between your teeth with floss. You may have a little bleeding when flossing, but that should slow down and stop as you begin to floss more regularly. Make a nightly habit of flossing to help protect against pregnancy-related gum disease.
  5. The Aftermath of Morning Sickness – Finally, if you’re suffering from morning sickness that is causing you to vomit, care for your teeth after an episode. Brush your teeth after you vomit, and consider drinking a mixture of water and a teaspoon of baking soda, as it can help prevent tooth damage that could be caused by stomach acid.

For more dental tips whether or not you’re pregnant, reach out to Smiles for Life Dental today.