19, Sep 2017
Several medical studies and researches point towards an association between maternal periodontal disease and negative pregnancy outcomes. The chances of adverse pregnancy outcomes can be significantly reduced by monitoring the oral health status of women during pregnancy.
Pregnancy causes noticeable changes in the gum and teeth conditions in a woman; the primary changes are due to an increase in estrogen and progesterone hormones. This can exaggerate the way gum tissues react to plaque. Pregnancy gingivitis, benign tumours, tooth mobility, tooth erosion and dental caries are some of the most commonly reported dental issues during pregnancy.
Pregnant women’s oral health, hygiene, and food choices can put a great impact on the growth of childhood oral problems. Therefore, it becomes extremely important to make pregnant women aware about changes to the gums and teeth. The woman considering pregnancy should visit a dentist for check-up and get treatment for any dental issues before conceiving.
It is true that teeth and gums need special attention during pregnancy; but dental problems that accompany pregnancy can be reduced significantly with good oral health habits and right food choices. Healthy food containing loads of vitamin C and B12 help keep the oral cavity at bay. Regular check-ups and professional dental cleaning will help prevent plaque and gingivitis to a great extent.
Gums may appear swollen and redder during pregnancy; they may become sore and susceptible to bleeding. Most women start experiencing pregnancy gingivitis from the first trimester itself.
During pregnancy, the level of progesterone hormone reaches up to 10 times higher than normal level; this increases the chances of bacterial infections. Apart from hormonal changes, immune system during this time can also hamper with our body’s natural response to gingivitis.
If gingivitis is left untreated, it may take the form of serious gum infection called periodontitis. It increases the chance of pre-mature delivery. Fortunately, pregnant women can easily tackle this problem with good oral hygiene and regular professional cleanings.
However, the dental problems and the intensity of those problems may vary among pregnant women. But, a proper dental care regimen and healthy food habits can guarantee supreme oral health in pregnant women.
Here, we have mentioned some important points that can help you maintain healthy teeth and gums throughout your pregnancy.
Go for regular dental check-ups
It is important to get your teeth checked and cleaned at regular interval during your pregnancy. Professional dental cleanings prevent tartar from damaging your teeth and creating holes in them. The bacteria that cause dental cavity can also transmit diseases to your newborn baby. Remember that cavities can be safely treated during pregnancy, so don’t delay any needed dental work.
When you visit dental clinic at regular interval, your dentist can identify teeth or gum disease which you may otherwise not have noticed. Being informed about your oral health allows you to make necessary changes in your habits and food choices to prevent further damage
Brush and floss your teeth at least twice daily
Brush your teeth very well for few minutes with good quality fluoride toothpaste. Always use a soft bristled toothbrush or a baby tooth brush. If your toothpaste is making you nauseous, switch to a different flavour.
Bacteria can easily stick between your teeth and cause plaque around your teeth and in your gum. Flossing is a great way of cleaning between the teeth; it can pick out visible bits of any food that you have eaten. Flossing can help you effectively clean difficult areas where a toothbrush can't reach.
Stay away from sweet and starchy foods
As we know sugary beverages and starchy food items are responsible for acid attacks on your teeth which may cause cavities. So, it is a good idea to stay away from sugary drinks and sweets during this time, though you can drink unsweetened fresh fruit juices. Include more fruits and vegetables in your diet. Your body needs plenty of calcium during pregnancy for the development of baby. So, consume dairy products, cheese, dried beans, and leafy green vegetables.
Don’t brush your teeth immediately after vomiting
Morning sickness or the vomiting is common during first trimester. It can harm the tooth enamel and increase the likelihood of tooth decay. Rinse your mouth thoroughly with plain tap water. The strong stomach acids can coat the teeth when you vomit. This acid can erode away the enamel, so don’t brush your teeth for at least 30 minutes after vomiting. After rinsing your mouth with water, swish with a mouthwash for a couple of minutes. Wait for at least half hour then brush your teeth for a couple of minutes with fluoride toothpaste.
As mentioned above, the levels of progesterone and estrogens hormones are very high during pregnancy which can put you at risk of gum diseases such as gingivitis. However, gum problems become noticeable in the second trimester but in some case, symptoms such as swelling of the gums and bleeding may appear in the first or second month of pregnancy. Keep in mind that if gingivitis is left untreated, it can take the form of chronic gum infections which can cause tooth loss.Don’t delay your visit to dentist clinic if you are pregnant and facing dental problems. Your dentist may also suggest you suitable oral care products depending on your dental problems.
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