Hey, pretty mama! You might be spreading yourself thin in between setting up your baby’s nursery, fighting exhaustion, achieving your daily to-do list, and overcoming the pregnancy blues such that dental care is at the bottom of your priorities. As an expectant mother, you have probably received unsolicited advice on what to eat, how to prevent stretch marks, how to wear and more but they never tell you how to care for your teeth. However, dental health during pregnancy should not fall by the wayside because your teeth still need attention. The fluctuating hormones caused by pregnancy can affect the health of your teeth and gums. Therefore, let’s look at the things you should know about dental health when you are expecting.
Table of Contents
- Pregnancy is Linked to Some Dental Health Problems
- Proper Care of Teeth and Nutritional Meals Improve Dental Health During Pregnancy
- Pregnancy Gingivitis Can Affect You and Your Baby
- It is Safe to Undergo A Dental Procedure While Pregnant
- Final Thoughts
Pregnancy is Linked to Some Dental Health Problems
If you are expecting, the hormonal changes in your body can lead to certain periodontal diseases or oral health concerns. They include;
Enamel Erosion and Tooth Decay
Excellent dental health during pregnancy is threatened by enamel erosion especially during the first trimester when you may experience adverse morning sickness. Persistent vomiting exposes the teeth to the acidic stomach secretions that can erode the enamel of teeth.
To protect your teeth, mix a teaspoon of baking soda with a glass of water then swirl it in your mouth. It rids your teeth of any acidic content. Also, do not be prompt to brush your teeth as you will be accelerating the action of the acid on your teeth.
Tooth decay can happen due to a high intake of foods rich in sugars such as carbohydrates. Research has linked current tooth decay or previous tooth decay in pregnant women to cavities experienced by children before the age of five.
Hormones play a vital role in your body, and they aided in the conception of your little one (which is a good thing). Nevertheless, in between your food aversions or cravings, mood swings and frequent peeing, you may despise the hormonal imbalances more so when you know that they can cause pregnancy gingivitis.
Pregnancy gingivitis leads to gum swelling which causes the gums to be very sensitive, and they may bleed occasionally. Therefore, your doctor may recommend regular dental visits for professional cleanings. You can also brush at home twice a day by using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste. Also, floss your teeth at least once daily to remove food particles that may be stuck between the swollen gums
Pregnancy gingivitis is a pregnancy symptom that usually goes away after birth, but with dental check-ups and focused care at home, your oral health will be excellent.
When you are pregnant, you might experience growths on your gums that have a raspberry-like appearance known as ‘pregnancy tumors.’ They are inflammatory benign growths that arise from swollen gums. They are often a minor dental concern because they vanish after birth, but if they make it difficult for you to chew, brush teeth, or practice dental hygiene, your doctor may opt to remove them surgically.
During pregnancy, dry mouth is a common experience that can cause discomfort. It normally happens due to hormonal imbalances and changes in the metabolic rate. A dry mouth creates an environment for bacteria to flourish because food particles remain in different sections of the mouth. Although it is not a serious concern, if left untreated, it may lead to bleeding gums, bad breath and in extreme cases gingivitis.
To treat a dry mouth, take plenty of water, avoid dehydrating beverages like coffee, soda, and tea, and chew sugarless gum that enhances salivation.
Proper Care of Teeth and Nutritional Meals Improve Dental Health During Pregnancy
For starters, try to adopt a routine dental hygiene procedure. For instance, brush your teeth twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste and remember to floss your teeth every day. If brushing causes a gag reflex, try using mouth washes that remove plaque, and they contain fluoride.
Eat whole grain meals, fruits, vegetables and dairy products for healthier teeth. Regular dental appointments for cleanings are also essential for keeping plaque at bay because plaque build-up can cause gum irritation and a more exaggerated response can be pregnancy tumors.
Pregnancy Gingivitis Can Affect You and Your Baby
For instance, when you suffer from pregnancy gingivitis, you can be at risk of preterm labor, and your baby can be born with a low birth weight. It is because excess bacteria can travel to the uterus prompting the release of prostaglandins which are said to trigger premature labor.
It is Safe to Undergo A Dental Procedure While Pregnant
Contrary to certain beliefs, it is entirely safe to undergo dental treatment throughout your pregnancy. Non-urgent and emergency treatments can be done. You can consult with your doctor regarding such issues.
Research claims that X-rays and anesthesia are safe for expectant women as they have no harmful effects. The X-rays have very minimal radiation. Therefore, you can receive any tooth numbing, tooth filling and tooth removal procedures. Your doctor will cover you with a leaded apron on your abdomen to prevent the radiation from reaching the baby. You may also be covered with a lead collar around your neck to protect your thyroid from radiation exposure.
Your doctor may advise for elective procedures to be done after giving birth, and they may also recommend for X-rays when it is an emergency procedure only.
It is crucial to take into account the above dental health issues during pregnancy. The pregnancy hormones might worsen oral health especially if you suffered from any periodontal disease before pregnancy. You should go for regular check-ups at your dental office and let your doctor know of any over the counter drugs or medical prescriptions that you use before he can write you any medication. It is also essential to go for a dental examination before you get pregnant so that your doctor can treat any existing oral diseases, it also prevents you from having emergency dental procedures when pregnant.