Although your dental health plays an important part in your general health in your everyday life, it is especially important during pregnancy when you are more vulnerable to oral problems. Pregnancy can lead to dental problems in some women, including gum diseases and increased tooth decay. This is caused due to increased surge in hormones making your gums more sensitive to irritants in plaque, which can cause gingivitis. This may lead to inflammation and bleeding of gums.
By timely diagnosis, early intervention and management of maternal oral issues, you can reduce the risk of childhood caries.
Oral Problems During Pregnancy
Some of the common oral problems experienced by pregnant women are oral lesions, dental caries, gingivitis, pregnancy oral tumor, and the problem of loose teeth. Gingivitis is the commonest dental issue that affects nearly 60 to 70 percent of pregnant women. It is caused due to imbalance in estrogen and progesterone hormones combined with fluctuations in oral flora. Increased female hormones can also affect the periodontium, which may further result in loosening of teeth even in the absence of periodontal disease. Pregnant women are more likely to suffer from tooth decay due to increased acidity in oral cavity, intake of sugary food and neglected oral health.
Dental Health Care During Pregnancy
Good oral health and nutrition are important during pregnancy. Caring for your teeth during pregnancy is essential to ensure good health throughout pregnancy.
Dental care tips – brushing, cleaning and flossing are important aspects of dental hygiene, which need to be followed even during pregnancy. Avoid excessive consumption of sugary foods and drinks. Use toothbrush with soft bristles to avoid enamel damage. Pregnant women are advised to brush two times in a day with a fluoride toothbrush. This will decrease the risk of caries.
Do not brush your teeth after vomiting. When your teeth are covered with stomach acids, brushing vigorously with toothbrush may erode the enamel of the teeth.
Regular dental check-ups – if you are planning or have recently become pregnant, it is advised to consult your dentist and schedule a routine appointment so that you can achieve good oral health which will be easier to maintain during pregnancy. Professional cleaning is done to address the issue of gingivitis in pregnant women. Your dentist will provide you a comprehensive list of do’s and don’ts.
Dental treatments – ideally, your dentist will not carry out any major dental treatment during the pregnancy period. However, in case of situations where dental treatment is essential, the procedures are usually carried out during the second trimester.
Diet – eating a well-balanced diet will also help in avoiding certain oral health problems during pregnancy. You should include foods rich in calcium and protein to ensure that good development of your baby’s teeth. Increase your intake of eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, fatty fish and margarine in your diet. If you have cravings, substitute them with healthy snacks. After taking mid meal snacks, rinse your mouth thoroughly with plain tap water.
Maintaining good oral hygiene during pregnancy will ensure good dental health for you as well as your baby.