5 Tips for Preventing Gum Disease

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, occurs when the tissues within the mouth become inflamed or infected.

Gum disease is generally separated into two categories: gingivitis, which refers to inflammation in the early stages of gum disease, and periodontitis, which is when damage happens to the gum tissue. While gingivitis is highly treatable if caught early, periodontitis is the leading cause of tooth loss in the adult population, making it essential to prevent gingivitis from advancing.

From leading Lafayette dentist Dr. Tim Chauvin, here’s what you need to know about gum disease and how to prevent it.

Preventing gum disease in Louisiana

Because most cases of gum disease are caused by plaque buildup, the ways we recommend to prevent it typically center around reducing or removing plaque buildup from the mouth.

Here are 5 tips you can use to prevent gum disease:

  1. Lessen your sugar intake. Sugar is a leading cause of tooth decay and when you consume sugary foods, the bad bacteria in your mouth multiply rapidly. Even worse, sticky candies can stay on the teeth surfaces for long periods of time, making it even more risky. Consider swapping out sugary foods and drinks for healthier choices and if you must satisfy your sweet tooth, choose items like chocolate that melt fast and won’t stick on your teeth.
  2. Stop smoking. Smoking, or use of any tobacco products, greatly increases your chance of developing gum disease and oral cancer. In addition, smokers have a harder time healing from dental procedures and when they get gum disease, it’s harder to treat than in non-smokers. Even if you’ve been a lifelong smoker, you can still reap many health benefits by quitting today.
  3. Make proper at-home dental hygiene an integral part of your routine. A solid at-home regimen is a crucial part of preventing gum disease. You should be brushing twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and flossing at least once a day.
  4. Visit your dentist at least twice a year. Even if you’ve got no problems with your mouth, you should still go in for regular dental checkups. Your dentist and hygienist will be able to remove more plaque with their instruments than you can with your toothbrush. You will also have regular X-rays to monitor your oral health.
  5. Know and manage your risk factors. Managing your overall wellness is key to making sure your teeth stay healthy. Speak with your dentist about how any diseases or medications you have may affect your oral health. For example, if you’re diabetic, it’s important to keep your blood sugar well controlled so you’re not at increased risk for dental issues.

Make an appointment with Dr. Chauvin Today

Gum disease is very common and usually quite treatable. Be sure to take steps within your control to lessen your risk and see your dentist regularly to be sure your oral health is on track. Contact the highly skilled team at Chauvin Dental if you have any questions about preventing gum disease or any other oral health questions!

Choosing the right mouthwash

We’ve talked toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss – but what about mouthwash? If you’d like to add a mouthwash or rinse to your oral care routine, it’s important to be aware of just what a mouthwash or rinse does. Some freshen breath, others provide an anti-cavity benefit from fluoride, while others contain germ-killing ingredients to help prevent plaque buildup.

You have many options, and the right mouthwash or rinse for you is the one that meets your dental hygiene needs for the health of your teeth and gums, and taste preference. Of course, mouthwash should be used along with other oral hygiene practices, but when used together with flossing and brushing, it can help to keep the entire mouth healthy. However, it can often be difficult to choose the best mouthwash for you and your oral needs. Dr. Chauvin and his team in Lafayette, Louisiana,  can offer some suggestions for choosing the correct mouthwash.

Types of mouthwash

  • Fluoride mouthwash:
    • Recommended for those who are cavity-prone. In the United States, tap water contains small amounts of fluoride in order to promote dental health for society as a whole. However, for those who need extra protection, a fluoride mouthwash can create a protective film over the teeth.
  • Antibacterial mouthwash:
    • This type contains chemicals to help fight against gum disease and other infections. Mouthwashes made specifically to fight bacteria can be a great preventive method for developing infections in the mouth. However, if an infection is already present, a dentist can prescribe a more powerful antibacterial mouthwash to treat the infection and prevent it from spreading.
  • Alcohol Mouthwash:
    • This type works as an antiseptic. It clears the mouth of germs and some viral infections (that’s where the burning sensation comes from). However, if you have issues relating to dry mouth, alcohol can exacerbate the problem. If this is the case, consider using an alcohol-free mouthwash. This will free your mouth from the drying effects of the alcohol base.

Schedule an appointment with Lafayette dentist Dr. Chauvin today

Remember that mouthwashes are to be used as one part of an entire oral hygiene program. Visiting Dr. Chauvin twice a year, brushing and flossing daily, along with using mouthwash are all necessary aspects of a full oral hygiene program. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.

Importance of Screening for Oral Cancer

Did you know that oral cancer is one of the deadliest diseases in the United States? Oral cancer has an incredibly high mortality rate, with half of all patients diagnosed dying as a result of their disease. Often oral cancer is only discovered when the cancer has made its way to another location, usually the lymph nodes of the neck. Prognosis at this stage is significantly worse than when it is caught early because in its early stages it may not be noticed by the patient due to its lack of pain or symptoms.

The good news is that when caught early, oral cancer has one of the highest survival rates of other cancers. More than 8 out of 10 oral cancer patients will survive the disease with early detection.

From Dr. Tim Chauvin in Lafayette, here’s what you need to know about oral cancer.

Am I at risk for oral cancer?

Some people are more at risk for oral cancer than others. For example, men tend to be more susceptible than women.

Other common risks include:

  • Age of 40+
  • Smoking
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • HPV
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Prologued sun exposure

People who have been diagnosed with oral cancer usually have at least one of these risk factors, but there is a growing rate of people who are diagnosed with no risk factors at all.

This means that oral cancer screenings are still important in maintaining your overall health.

Oral Cancer Symptoms

Some symptoms of oral health can point to signs of oral cancer.

Your dentist will look out for the following symptoms at your appointments:

  • Red or white patches in your mouth
  • Spots that continuously bleed or don’t heal
  • Numbness or pain when you bite down on your teeth
  • A lump in the mouth, throat or on the lip
  • A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, or the lining of the mouth
  • Bleeding, pain, or numbness in the mouth
  • A sore throat that does not go away
  • Difficulty or pain when chewing or swallowing
  • Swelling of the jaw
  • A change (hoarseness) in the voice
  • Pain in the ear.

Oral Cancer Treatment and Prevention

The best way to prevent oral cancer is through regular oral cancer screenings during your checkups.

Your dentist won’t be able to diagnose you during the exam, but they will send a sample of your tissue to a lab to determine if it is cancer.

Make an appointment with Dr. Chauvin today

Once a dentist receives the lab results confirming oral cancer, they can start to treat the cancer before it progresses. Come into Dr. Chauvin’s office in Lafayette Louisiana today to get your oral cancer screening!



dr chauvin lafayette la dentist energy drinks affect dental health dr chauvin lafayette la dentist

How energy drinks affect dental health

You can’t walk into a gas station or grocery store without seeing an entire cooler (or sometimes several) devoted to energy drinks. They claim to have vitamins and other compounds that can give you the pick-me-up you need when your energy starts to flag.

Regardless of whether their ability to provide energy is true or not, there is one effect energy drinks definitely have on a person – they wear away your enamel. From celebrated Lafayette dentist Dr. Tim Chauvin, here’s what you need to know about how energy drinks affect dental health.

Citric Acid and Energy Drinks

Citric acid is a preservative and flavor enhancer that you find in many different things; fruit juice, soda, sports drinks, etc.

In energy drinks, it is found in much greater quantities, which is where the problem lies. Citric acid will eat away tooth enamel, which is what protects your teeth from decay. And tooth enamel does not grow back. Once it’s gone, that’s it.

Not only does this acid affect enamel, but it can also cause kidney stones and lead to the loss of bone mass – especially since people are drinking more energy drinks and less milk.

How do we know citric acid is bad for our teeth?

In order to measure the effects of citric acid on teeth, researchers took some sliced-up molars and exposed them to a variety of energy and sports drinks for 15 minutes. Then they exposed them to artificial saliva for two hours.

They repeated the process four times a day over the course of five days. They looked at pH, fluoride levels,and titratable acidity. Titratable acidity is, in a nutshell, how long it takes saliva to neutralize acid in the mouth.

Although both types of drinks removed enamel, they found that energy drinks did far more damage than sports drinks.

What does this mean for your dental health?

The American Beverage Association doesn’t want to point fingers at one specific type of drink for bad dental health.

It claims, “It is irresponsible to blame foods, beverages or any other single factor for enamel loss and tooth decay (dental caries or cavities).” And they go on to say that other factors such as a person’s dental hygiene behavior, lifestyle, diet, and genetic makeup, contribute to cavities on a case-by-case basis.

Regardless, the effect that energy drinks have on tooth enamel is astounding. It’s best to avoid them altogether – especially teenagers.

A good night’s sleep will be much better for them than an energy drink. The damage from the citric acid, caffeine, and sugar on a growing body is just not worth it.

Contact Dr. Chauvin Today

If you are concerned about your or your child’s dental health due to energy drink consumption, or any other dental issue for that matter, call Dr. Chauvin’s office to set up an appointment.

How to combat halitosis - dr chauvin lafayette la

How to combat halitosis

It’s not a pleasant subject to talk about, but if you’re suffering from bad breath, you need to know you have it — and that there are things you can do to prevent it. 

What are the causes of halitosis or bad breath?

Bad breath, also known as halitosis or malodor, is most often caused by something happening in your mouth, like bacteria that cause the gums to swell and emit a sulfur-like smell, or cavities. 

Here are some other reasons you might have bad breath: 

  • Diabetes
  • Liver disease
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Chronic bronchitis

How to combat bad breath

If you’re suffering from bad breath (just like those people around you), fortunately, there are things you can do to get rid of it and keep it from coming back. These include: 

  • Rinsing with mouthwash: Did you know that mouthwash not only adds a minty freshness to your breath, it also kills bacteria? Just make sure you choose a mouthwash that kills bacteria, and it’ll help eliminate some of the source of bad breath.

  • Maintain a healthy, balanced diet: There are some diets out there, like fasting and no-carb diets, that can cause bad breath. If you’ve had problems with halitosis, you should avoid these extreme diets. Although garlic, onions and some spices are good for your body, they’re not good for your mouth. You shouldn’t eat them if you’re trying to improve your breath.

  • Tongue-scraping: The two most common bacteria in your mouth that are widely known for causing bad breath and tooth decay are called Mutans streptococci and Lactobacilli. If you scrape your tongue twice a day, research has shown that these two types of bacteria will be reduced in your mouth.

  • Brush and floss more often: Are you brushing your teeth twice a day? And are you flossing at least once a day? If you answered yes, are you being honest with yourself? If you’re not brushing and flossing in accordance with the standards listed above, then you’re not getting rid of all the plaque in your mouth. Plaque causes the bacteria that will bring you bad breath.

  • Quit using tobacco products: There’s a long list of reasons why you should quit smoking or using other nicotine products, and among them is bad breath. The time to quit is now.

  • Choose gum instead of mints: Just like your body gets addicted to sugar, your mouth is a big fan of sugar, too. Bacteria love sugar. They love it so much, they turn it into acid that breaks down your tooth enamel and causes bad breath. If you need something to freshen your breath, choose sugar-free gum instead of mints.

  • Stay hydrated: One of the causes of bad breath is an overly dry mouth, and one way to combat a dry mouth is by drinking plenty of water. Make sure you’re drinking at least 64 ounces a day.

  • Visit your dentist! This is last, but definitely not least. If you’re experiencing bad breath and none of the above solutions are helping, it’s time to call Dr. Tim Chauvin’s office to see how we can help. 

Set up a dental appointment with Dr. Tim Chauvin’s office today

If you are worried about bad breath, there are various options available for improvement. With the right dentist by your side, you can figure out the problem and your best solution. Chauvin, DDS & Associates in Lafayette La is here to help! Set up an appointment today.

Cross-bite correction and treatment - dr chauvin lafayette la

Cross-bite correction and treatment

A cross-bite is when your teeth are out of alignment. It is where your lower teeth will be outside of your top row of teeth. Cross-bite can make an individual feel self-conscious about their smile and other facial expressions. Let’s learn more about it.

What is a cross-bite?

In the simplest terms, a cross-bite occurs when your top teeth aren’t aligned with your bottom teeth. The clinical definition mentions tooth arches and jaw positions. No matter the cause, a cross-bite is essentially a misalignment. Cross-bites can occur from trauma, but most often, they are genetic. A cross-bite can specifically occur in children when their adult teeth grow before all of their baby teeth have a chance to fall out. It’s safe to say that if your parents had alignment issues, you might have them as well.

Anterior vs. Posterior

There are two kinds of cross-bites. An anterior cross-bite occurs when the front teeth on your top row fall behind the front teeth on your bottom row. This type of cross-bite is similar to an underbite. The second type of cross-bite is a posterior cross-bite. Posterior cross-bites occur when your top row of teeth falls inside your bottom row of teeth when you bite down. Luckily, both anterior and posterior cross-bites can be treated.

Cross-bite Correction and Treatment Options

Most dental professionals would agree that the best time to correct a cross-bite is as a child or teenager. There are treatments available for adults as well, but the earlier the cross-bite is detected and treated, the better. Most cross-bites are remedied by adjusting the teeth or jaw using orthodontic treatments and appliances.

Some treatment options that are available to correct cross-bites include: 

– Maxillary Expander

– Removable expander

– Braces

– Surgery in extreme cases

Many orthodontic professionals utilize a combined therapy of expanders and braces. The expanders work to create the correct amount of space in between the teeth so that the bites are aligned properly throughout the entire mouth. In adults, sometimes a removable expander can be prescribed that is only worn at night. Each case is different and will require its treatment plan.

The best place to start is by talking to your dentist about cross-bite correction and treatment options available to you or your child. As we’ve mentioned, cross-bites that are left untreated can cause even larger health issues down the road.

How can fixing a cross-bite connection help you? 

Getting your cross-bite connection fixed can help you in many ways. You will feel that your smile is even, and the face structure will be symmetrical. Most importantly, it can help you with chewing your food, and you can enjoy it in a better way. 

Also, you won’t wear down enamel or chip a tooth since your chewing will become even. Moreover, fixing a cross-bite can also have a lasting effect and can help in the correction of your teeth. As a result, you can avoid complications in the future and save a lot of money going towards the dental bills in the future. 

  • Improper alignment of the teeth can cause various problems such as: 
  • Wearing down teeth unevenly
  • Loss of enamel 
  • Become looser over time

Therefore, you should choose the best treatment options for cross-bite connection to avoid these complications.

Bottom Line: The Best Cross-bite Correction Treatment

If you are worried about your cross-bite connection, there are various treatment options available for you to choose. With the right dentist by your side, you can go through this process without any hassle.

Chauvin, DDS & Associates in Lafayette La is concerned about your smile! A cross-bite can affect your self-esteem as well as your oral health. We care about it all. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you gain a perfect smile or restore your oral health, give us a call today at (337) 234-2186.

Is Something Wrong if You don’t have 32 Teeth - dr chauvin lafayette la

Is something wrong if you don’t have 32 teeth

Naturally, an adult has 32 teeth, out of which many remove their wisdom teeth, bringing the total count down to 28. However, some people never develop their wisdom teeth. In other cases, people don’t have their other permanent teeth. 

Well, to be clear, this does not happen due to tooth loss from injury or decay- the teeth just never developed in the first place. 

Is something wrong if you don’t have 32 teeth? This answer depends on the reason for missing teeth. 

Why do Some Teeth not Develop?

The simplest answer is genetics. There is a term that’s used when a person is missing 6 or fewer permanent teeth, hypodontia. On the other hand, when a person is missing more than six permanent teeth, it’s called oligodontia. These are birth defects that are caused by abnormal changes in the genes. Both of these problems are common and can be developed in any child at a growing age. The most important thing to do for both of these conditions is to diagnose and start treatment early. Not only for cosmetic purposes, but they can lead to severe problems in the future. 

Treating Hypodontia and Oligodontia

When a person is missing teeth, several things can happen:

  • Their teeth can shift, causing misaligned bites and other tooth damage
  • Their body can reabsorb the jawbone
  • They may have trouble eating or speaking

These things can have a major effect on a person from a dental and emotional standpoint. That’s why it’s important to catch it early so your dentist can begin a treatment plan for oligodontia and hypodontia. While we can’t force the missing teeth to grow, they can be replaced. Dental implants, dentures, crowns, and bridges can all be used to fill in any missing teeth. If left untreated for too long, the current teeth might shift from their original position, causing misalignment. As a result, the doctor needs to move them back with braces or other means before installing replacement teeth in your mouth.

Missing Wisdom Teeth

Adults start developing wisdom teeth at different ages. You can expect the development of your third molars in your early adult years or late teens, around age 17 to 21. Some people also get their wisdom teeth earlier, while others develop them later in life. But a small percentage of the population never develop some (or all) of their wisdom teeth. This isn’t a bad thing at all! That’s fewer teeth for the oral surgeon to remove. Also, since you will be living with them for several years, you will not notice this change. Missing wisdom teeth are also unnoticeable and don’t impact your oral health. 

Like hypodontia, missing wisdom teeth are the result of a genetic anomaly. Research shows that thousands of years ago, a mutation suppressed the formation of wisdom teeth. Archaeologists have found fossils in China that can be traced back to 300,000 to 400,000 years ago that are missing third molars. Experts predict that this mutation has impacted our ability to develop wisdom teeth. 

Bottom Line

Whether you have missing wisdom teeth or others, it’s important that you get yourself checked. This will help you get an idea of whether they are impacting your oral health. Since it’s nothing that could have been prevented, as it happened on the genetic level, you can treat hypodontia and oligodontia. The important thing is to have the teeth replaced before any other issues develop. Call Dr. Chauvin’s office if you have more questions!

Top 5 Worst Foods for Dental Health - chauvin dental lafayette la

What You Eat Matters: What Are the Worst Foods for Dental Health?

Poor oral health impacts your quality of life, affecting your mental, physical, emotional, and social well-being. 

Research reveals that 53% of people with oral health problems experience self-esteem. Missing teeth, rotting teeth, oral infections, oral pain, and swelling can influence how you: 

  • Eat 
  • Socialize 
  • Talk 

Certain foods can wreak havoc on your mouth and affect your well-being. Give yourself a confidence boost and improve your oral health by limiting the following foods:

  • Alcohol and Wine

It’s no surprise that drinking alcohol is unhealthy. But what many people don’t know is that drinking causes your mouth to become dry. 

A dry mouth means less saliva, which equals unhealthy teeth. Why? It is because saliva helps wash away food particles. It’s also essential for repairing potential signs of tooth decay, gum diseases, sticking food, and other oral infections. 

At the same time, white and red wine is rich in erosive acid and tannins. It means that drinking wine can soften your enamels, dry your mouth, and stain your teeth.

To ensure a healthy mouth, avoid getting dehydrated. Try to limit alcohol intake and drink plenty of water. You may even try fluoride rinses.

  • Dried Fruits

Most people assume that dried fruits are a healthy snack. Unfortunately, many dried fruits, including figs, raisins, apricots, and figs, are sticky. 

It means that dried fruits get stuck and cling to your teeth and crevices. If you enjoy eating dried fruits, follow these steps:

  • Rinse your mouth with water or fluoride solutions 
  • Brush your teeth properly
  • Floss 

Moreover, try choosing fresh fruits since they contain less sugar content.

  • Pasta Sauce

While tomatoes are healthy, tomato sauce is acidic. When you pour an extensive amount of tomato sauce over your pasta, you damage your enamel. 

It is because the acidic tomato sauce starts breaking down your enamel while the pasta’s carbs feed harmful bacteria. 

Keep your teeth’ enamel healthy by replacing tomato sauce with cheese. 

  • Popcorn 

Popcorn is an excellent movie snack, but they’re the worst dental offenders. 

It’s unlikely you’ll finish eating popcorn without getting it stuck in your teeth. The thin shell tends to make a home between your teeth and gums. Plus, chewing on un-popped kernels may crack your tooth or cause tooth decay. 

If you’re a fan of popcorn, remember to floss after eating.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is famous for two things: its detoxifying properties and high acidity. It means that drinking apple cider vinegar can erode your tooth enamel. 

If you enjoy apple cider vinegar, add water to it. Ensure that you rinse your mouth and teeth later.

What Foods Should You Eat?

 Here’s a list of delicious food items you can enjoy to improve your oral health:

  • Fluoride-rich foods
  • Fruits and vegetables rich in fiber 
  • Green and black tea
  • Cheese, milk, yogurt, and other dairy products 
  • Sugarless chewing gum 

Ensure a Healthy and Beautiful Smile 

Reduce the risks of tooth decay and diseases by following the ADA-approved tips listed below:

  • Limiting Between-Meal Snacks- If your tummy starts grumbling before dinner, choose something nutritious like a carrot or apple rather than your favorite chips 
  • Eating Sugary Foods with Meals- Since our mouth makes more saliva while eating, it’s an excellent idea to consume sugary foods with meals to reduce the effects of acid production 
  • Drinking Healthy Amounts of Water- Fluoridated water helps reduce the risks of tooth decay, so choose bottled water that contains fluoride content 
  • Following Oral Hygiene- Brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once


Set up an appointment with Dr. Chauvin today


Speak to Dr. Chauvin from Lafayette Dentist Chauvin to ensure your dental heath. Dr. Chauvin will examine your teeth and gums, review your oral health history, and discuss your dental hygiene goals to offer the best advice. 

At Tim Chauvin, DDS & Associates, we offer high-quality services to patients across Lafayette and surrounding areas. Give us a call at (337) 234-2186 or book an appointment to start your journey towards healthier and beautiful smiles.

cavity - dr chauvin lafayette la

Cavity? Now What? (plus Signs and symptoms)

You’ve heard the word a hundred times — and you might have been treated for one or two as a child — but do you really know what a cavity is? 

A cavity is a permanently damaged area on your tooth that morphs into a tiny hole — or opening — on the hard surface of a tooth. 


What causes cavities? 

If you end up with a cavity, fear not. You’re not alone, and it’s not the end of the world. In fact, cavities are one of the world’s most prevalent health issues. Cavities are caused by a number of things, including: 

  • Bacteria in your mouth
  • Lack of adequate oral care (not brushing and/or flossing your teeth enough)
  • Too many sugary beverages 
  • Too many sugary snacks

Typically, dentists can fix cavities pretty easily. But if left untreated, they can cause an infection in your mouth — or tooth loss. 


What are the symptoms of a cavity? 

Often, if the cavity is new or not severe, you won’t have any symptoms. But as the cavity persists, you might experience: 

  • Tooth pain
  • Sensitive teeth (sensitive to hot or cold food or beverages)
  • Holes or pits in your teeth (that you can see with the naked eye)
  • Stains on your teeth


How is a cavity treated? 

A cavity is typically “filled” by a dentist in a relatively painless and easy fix. There are several types of fillings available, but the most common are amalgam and composite. 

Here are the fillings available for cavities: 

  • Amalgam Fillings: Amalgam fillings are comprised of several different elements, which means they can be noticeable when you laugh or smile — even if they’re in the back of your mouth. They are among the most common — and the least costly — of all the fillings available.  
  • Composite Fillings: Composite fillings are also known as filled resins. They are a combination of glass or quartz — and they’re popular because they often match the color of your tooth, so they’re not noticeable when you smile. 
  • Metals: These metals — gold or silver — are used in amalgam fillings. Gold costs roughly 10 times more than silver when it comes to fillings. Although many people aren’t comfortable with shiny metal fillings, they choose them because they’re more durable than other options — they can last more than a decade before needing attention. 
  • Ceramic: A ceramic filling typically is made with porcelain and, like composites, won’t be noticeable to people when you smile. The difference between porcelain and composite is that the porcelain filling won’t show as many tooth stains over an extended period of time. The drawback: Ceramic fillings can be very expensive.
  • Glass Ionomer: A glass lonomer is unique because it releases fluoride, which helps to protect your teeth. Although it helps your teeth while it’s in, a glass lonomer is not as durable as other fillings, so it will need to be replaced sooner. 


As you can see, there is no shortage of options on correcting a cavity, and all of them are relatively pain-free and not very time-consuming. Contact Dr. Tim Chauvin’s office today for more information. 

Pregnancy and Dental Health - dr chauvin lafayette la

Pregnancy and Dental Health

Oral health is one crucial component of overall health, and this is even more true when you’re pregnant. 

Did you know that studies have revealed a connection between periodontitis — also known as gum disease — and premature birth? Gum disease also has been linked to low birthweight. That’s why it’s so important for you to take care of your teeth and gums while you’re expecting. 

How does pregnancy affect your dental health?

The changes in your body you experience during pregnancy can have a big impact on your teeth and gums. One of the most obvious signs of pregnancy is bleeding gums. When you’re pregnant, there’s more blood flowing through your veins, a higher level of acid in your mouth, and a drastic rise in hormones. 

All of these changes can cause problems with your oral health. These issues can include

  • Gingivitis: Do your gums bleed when you brush? Are your gums red, swollen and/or sore? Then you might have gingivitis. Progesterone, a hormone that is heightened during pregnancy, can lead to gingivitis, so it’s a common occurrence in pregnant women. You’ll need to see a dentist to treat the gingivitis before it gets more serious and turns into periodontitis (gum disease).
  • Tooth loss: Just like it causes gingivitis, excess progesterone during pregnancy — along with estrogen — can impact the tissues and bones that keep your teeth intact. If you feel loose teeth while you’re pregnant, this is normal. 
  • Periodontitis: If all of the above conditions are heightened to include extreme swelling and infection in your gums and the bones in your mouth, then you could have periodontitis. This is a serious gum disease. It can also cause your teeth to become loose. You’ll need to get this treated immediately. 
  • Pregnancy tumors: Tumor sounds like a scary word, but pregnancy tumors are not cancerous, but instead, lumps that form in between teeth — on already swollen gums. The tumors can cause your mouth to bleed. They could be caused by having too much plaque. Flossing will help to eliminate plaque, but if the pregnancy tumors don’t go away on their own, you might end up having them surgically removed after you have your baby. 
  • Tooth decay: Tooth decay — or when the enamel that protects your tooth breaks down — is caused by acid in your mouth. Because pregnancy creates higher levels of acid in your mouth, tooth decay is more common among women who are expecting. You’ll have even higher acidity levels if you’re experiencing a lot of morning sickness and vomiting during pregnancy. 

How you can help you and your unborn child

The myth that it’s unsafe to visit your dentist for cleanings or X-rays while you’re pregnant is just that: a myth. Visiting your dentist can be integral in keeping your mouth (and thus your baby) healthy while you’re expecting. 

You should notify your dentist as soon as you know about your pregnancy so he or she can adjust treatment, procedures and medications. The American Pregnancy Association says the second trimester is the usually the best time for minor dental work (i.e. cleaning, fillings).