Pregnancy is a time when we take care of our whole body, try to stay as fit as possible but avoid or forget about one important thing we need to take care about, and that is Dental Health.
As dentists say “Oral health leads to overall heath”. Taking care of dental (Oral) health during pregnancy will not only help you in staying healthy, but also help avoiding unnecessary dental treatment during pregnancy and even after the delivery.
In many cases LBW (Low Birth Weight) has been related to periodontal diseases i.e. the advanced disease of the gums, which if taken care of can be easily avoided.
During pregnancy due to various factors, the would be mother stops taking good care of the oral health. These factors can be:
- Bleeding from the gums: due to hormonal changes there can be slight bleeding from the gums, and because of the fear of bleeding, some mothers avoid brushing.
- Morning Sickness: Morning sickness is another reason mothers avoid brushing during pregnancy
- Sometimes there is an excessive craving of junk food during pregnancy. The junk food is more cariogenic and can therefore cause more dental problems especially when we do not brush after eating.
- And once a mother, you tend to take more care of your baby rather than your own. This again leads to ignoring the dental health and causing cavities and periodontal diseases.
A myth commonly heard in some parts of the country is that a pregnant female should not brush her teeth as it might cause excessive bleeding and loose teeth. Which definitely is not true. Avoiding brushing of teeth can cause deposition of plaque and calculus and therefore can be a reason for loose teeth. Proper cleanliness can help in avoiding such situation.
Dental and Oral Changes During Pregnancy
Gingival Changes (Changes in the Gums)
Due to hormonal changes during pregnancy there are a few changes that are visible in your oral cavity too, like the gingiva. There are changes that occur in the gingiva leading to gingival inflammation and some times tumor like swellings known as the pregnancy tumors. These tumors start growing at around the 2nd month of pregnancy and heal on its own after the delivery. If they do not heal on their own they can be removed surgically. The pregnancy tumors are nothing to be scared of. They are not carcinogenic (cancerous).
Dental Changes (Changes in the Teeth)
An increase in the number of cavities can be seen sometimes during pregnancy. The reason for this can be as mentioned above, eating more of junk food and avoiding brushing and flossing.
Dental Care Tips
Brushing is one of the most important things to do whether you are pregnant or not. Brushing twice daily using a pea size of a fluoridated toothpaste is what is required to maintain a good oral hygiene.
Sometimes due to morning sickness some pregnant patients might feel nausea while brushing, especially while cleaning the posterior (back) teeth or the tongue. The acids from the stomach which reach the mouth while vomiting can erode the enamel of the teeth and cause cavities. You can follow the few steps:
- Use a toddlers toothbrush which has a small head. This sometimes help.
- Try to relax yourself while brushing by listening to music, or thinking about something you like or love. Distraction helps.
- If you feel the most nauseating during the mornings, then change your time for brushing to when you are most comfortable.
- If the taste of the tooth paste is not pleasant for you then try changing the toothpaste.
- Do not brush immediately after you have had food.
Flossing is another very important thing you need to do. Flossing cleans in between teeth. So the surface which is not cleaned by a toothbrush can only be cleaned by floss. Floss minimum once every day for better oral hygiene.
Warm Saline Rinses
Warm saline rinses is the best thing to keep the gums healthy. A little salt in half glass of water does the trick. Rinse twice a day and have a healthy gingiva.
Routine Dental Examination
2nd trimester is the safest for getting any kind of dental treatment, but a routine dental examination would do no harm. There are a few things that needs to be done:
- Inform your dentist before hand about the pregnancy if even it is very early.
- Your dentist will make you wear a led apron before taking any X- Ray.
- In case any emergency dental procedure is required, it can be done under local anesthesia in any trimester but the best time to perform any dental treatment during pregnancy is the 2nd trimester.
A healthy diet is a must during pregnancy both for dental health and overall health. Eating more of fruits and vegetables helps preventing cavities.
Due to craving during pregnancy sometimes the pregnant mother tend to eat more of sweets or junk food. Drinking a glass of water after it or brushing the teeth will help preventing cavities.
Increase your Calcium Intake
According to the ADA (American Dental Association) calcium helps in protecting the surface of the tooth i.e. the enamel and prevents cavities or the erosion of the teeth. So, increasing the intake of calcium helps in better dental health. Vitamin D is another important supplement that is required for the uptake of calcium from the diet. Certain foods like milk, cheese, yogurt, almonds are great source of calcium and should therefore be incorporated in the diet. For Vitamin D, sunlight is the best source, if the levels are down, your gynaecologist might prescribe supplements for the same.
Where to Go For Help
- Your Dentist
- Your Gynaecologist
To book an appointment with us you can visit us at www.32sparklets.com and get the professional help you need.