Pregnancy can lead to dental problems in some women, including gum disease and increased risk of tooth decay. During pregnancy, your increased hormones can worsen your body’s response to plaque (the layer of germs on your teeth).
Thinking about your baby and prenatal care is normal during pregnancy; however, thinking about your oral health and dental care may not be forefront on your mind, but dentistry is still very important. Women need to pay special attention to their teeth and gums especially during pregnancy to avoid the increased risk of dental problems.
Your Changing Body and Changing Dental Care Needs During Pregnancy.
Pregnancy brings a change in oral health and hormones, especially increased levels of estrogen and progesterone, which are linked to plaque buildup on teeth. Plaque that is not removed can cause gingivitis and swollen gums that are tender and prone to bleed. Most pregnant women experience gingivitis to some degree, but it doesn't usually surface until the second trimester.
If you had gingivitis before becoming pregnant, your condition will likely be aggravated; untreated gingivitis can lead to a more serious problem -- periodontal disease. Swollen gums that become irritated can also lead to pregnancy tumors, benign growths that will usually shrink and disappear without treatment. However, if the tumor causes discomfort or interferes with chewing or brushing, the dentist may suggest removing it.
Special Preventive Dental Care Tips for Pregnant Women
- Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and after each meal, if possible.
- If brushing your teeth causes morning sickness, rinse with anti-plaque and fluoride mouthwashes or water.
- Pay close attention to your gum line and keep it clean.
- Floss daily.
- Focus on nutrition, including plenty of vitamins C and B12.
- Visit your dentist for a check-up and cleaning in both your first and second trimesters to control plaque and maintain good oral health.
Handling Dental Care Emergencies During Pregnancy
If you experience dental emergencies causing pain, you can be treated at any time; however, consult your doctor if anesthesia is required or a medication is prescribed to you. Avoid X-rays during pregnancy, unless they are critical to emergency treatment.
It is recommended to schedule elective procedures after your baby's birth. While you're expecting, have great expectations for maintaining good oral health.
Common causes of dental health problems during pregnancy can include:
- Gum problems
- Cravings for sugary foods
- Retching while brushing teeth.
Vomiting can damage teeth
Pregnancy hormones soften the ring of muscle that keeps food inside the stomach. Gastric reflux (regurgitating food or drink) or the vomiting associated with morning sickness can coat your teeth with strong stomach acids. Repeated reflux and vomiting can damage tooth enamel and increase the risk of decay.
- Don’t brush your teeth immediately after vomiting. While the teeth are covered in stomach acids, the vigorous action of the toothbrush may scratch the tooth enamel.
- Rinse your mouth thoroughly with plain tap water.
- Follow up with a fluoridated mouthwash.
- If you don’t have a fluoridated mouthwash, put a dab of fluoridated toothpaste on your finger and smear it over your teeth. Rinse thoroughly with water.
- Brush your teeth at least an hour after vomiting.
Some women experience unusual food cravings (and food avoidance) while they are pregnant. A regular desire for sugary snacks may increase your risk of tooth decay. Try to snack on low-sugar foods instead. If nothing but sweetness will satisfy your craving, try to sometimes choose healthier options such as fresh fruits. Rinse your mouth with water , or brush your teeth after having sugary snacks.
Take care of your unborn baby.
The sole purpose of these blogs is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, prevention or cure of any disease. If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained doctor/health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained Ayurvedic expert, call us or e mail.
Dr Unnati Chavda
(Promoting pregnancy wellness)