Pregnancy and the accompanying hormonal changes affect nearly every aspect of a woman’s health, and oral health is no exception. In this article, we are going to take a look at a few tips to maintain good oral health during pregnancy. But first, let’s understand the relation between the two.
Why is oral health so important during pregnancy?
Growing evidence suggests that pregnant women with good oral health have a lesser risk of premature birth and other conditions like the low birth weight of the baby. More research on how oral health and pre-term baby` are related is pending, but it seems that the fluids produced by the body in response to gum disease cause muscle relaxation and induce labor.
Some specific dental problems to look out for during pregnancy are:
Increased susceptibility to dental caries: With pregnancy come the mood swings and crazy sugar cravings. These sugary treats lead to increased acidity in the mouth and thereby weaker teeth. Not only that, the increased consumption of sugar leads to gestational or pregnancy diabetes. So try and eat more healthy foods, and limit those treats to maybe once or twice per day. You can opt for healthy alternatives like fruits to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Erosion of teeth: Due to repeated episodes of morning sickness (which a lot of women claim to be a full day sickness), teeth are exposed to frequent acid attacks. In order to protect your teeth, swish your mouth with baking soda or a fluoridated mouthwash post vomiting.
(P.S.- As tempting as it may seem, do not immediately brush your teeth after vomiting, as brushing will further erode the weakened enamel, leading to sensitivity and brittle teeth.)
Gum diseases: Many women experience red and swollen gums during pregnancy. These changes are called pregnancy gingivitis. This typically happens from the second to the eighth month of pregnancy due to changes in the hormonal levels. To minimize the symptoms practice a good oral hygiene, as mentioned later in the article.
Pregnancy Tumors: These tumors are not cancerous but small growths over the gum line, which fade away after delivery. According to ADA, 2-10% of the total pregnant women get them. The reasons primarily being poor oral hygiene, hormonal changes and ….immune reaction due to pregnancy. These tumors do not need any surgical intervention unless they are bothering the mother. They will start to reduce post-delivery.
Dry mouth: It is not as common a problem as the ones listed above. But quite a few women have noticed their mouth getting drier during pregnancy. The reasons could be anything from dehydration to hormonal changes to gestational diabetes. In most cases, home remedies like drinking water more frequently, eating sugar-free candies and using a humidifier at night relieve the symptoms. In extreme cases, you should consult a professional to look for any underlying medical issue.
How can I maintain good oral hygiene during my pregnancy?
There are many things that you can do to maintain good oral health during and after pregnancy.
- Firstly, if you are still planning for a baby and not expecting yet, get done with the pending dental treatments. That way you won’t have to deal with untimely dental problems.
- If you sincerely brush twice a day nothing like it, but otherwise this is the best time for you to start brushing twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush and floss at least once every day.
- During pregnancy, go for regular dental check-ups and get a professional cleaning done as and when recommended by your dentist. It is completely safe to do so.
- Consider using an anti-microbial mouthwash, to help your gum health.
- Lastly, consult a professional and come up with a diet plan to promote not only your general health but dental wellbeing too.
If you have any other concerns with regards to oral health during pregnancy, do put them down in the comment section. We’re happy to help.