Now that you’re expecting, you know that there’s going to be some pretty big changes in your body. And while you’re already geared up with that healthy meal plan and pregnancy fitness routine, did you know that oral hygiene can also contribute to a healthy pregnancy? Changes in hormone levels can increase the risk of oral health issues, including gum disease and pregnancy tumors, seen as small round raised areas on the gums. While you wait for your little one to arrive, here are a number of things you should know to keep your mouth healthy writes Dr Devaiah Mapangada, CMO, MobiDent
Pregnancy is an important phase in a woman’s life. The body goes through a number of physiological changes at various stages of pregnancy, and each change during different trimesters can adversely impact oral health. Taking good care of your gums and teeth can make a significant difference for your child, before and after birth.
The mouth is a gateway to the human body. It’s a window to the rest of the body, providing telltale signs of overall health. The mouth, although its own habitat, directly relates to the other parts of the body. It is where digestion begins and numerous bacteria form and live. Taking good care of your oral health plays a vital role in the overall wellness. For most of us, dental care is something we’ve been doing ever since we could walk or talk, yet it’s not a priority. Preventive dental care is safe during pregnancy and important for the health of the mother and the baby. However, oral care is much neglected and there are many pregnant women, including some with obvious signs of oral disease, who often do not seek or receive oral care. Many a times, neither pregnant women nor health professionals understand that oral care is key component to a healthy pregnancy.
Know the signs
Several bodily changes that occur during pregnancy can impact your teeth and gums. Morning sickness, a very common side effect of pregnancy, exposes the teeth to higher levels of gastric acid. Vomiting associated with morning sickness can coat the teeth with strong stomach acids. This continuous exposure to higher levels of acidity results in erosion of the tooth enamel, and may lead to tooth sensitivity. The surge in hormone levels during pregnancy can make your gums more vulnerable to plaque, leading to infl ammation and bleeding. This is also called pregnancy gingivitis or gum disease, most likely to occur during the second trimester. Women with gum disease experience swelling of the gums and bleeding during brushing and flossing. Pregnancy gingivitis is caused by a bacteria film that grows on the teeth, resulting in plaque buildup. This buildup of plaque irritates the gums, making them swollen, sensitive and easy to bleed. Severe hormonal surges during pregnancy impacts the body’s natural response to dental plaque, affecting how gum tissue reacts with the bacteria in plaque, thus making pregnant women susceptible to pregnancy gingivitis. If gingivitis goes untreated, it may result in periodontitis, a serious gum disease that may eventually lead to tooth loss. Research has found that pregnant women who suffer from gum diseases are at a higher risk of early delivery or low birth
Most pregnant women experience unusual food cravings. A regular desire for sugary and sticky snacks can increase the risk of tooth decay. Opt for low sugar foods or fresh fruit to satisfy those sweet cravings.
What to do
It’s crucial to keep your teeth and gums as clean and healthy as possible while you’re pregnant. Practicing good oral hygiene, eating healthy foods, and a regular visit to the dentist will help keep you and your baby healthy. Here’s how you can keep your mouth healthy:
Brush twice and floss everyday: Regular brushing and flossing can remove plaque and prevent gum disease. Brushing is best with a small-headed toothbrush with soft filaments—make sure it’s comfortable to hold.
Eat Right: Even if you are craving sugary snacks, try to go easy on sugar-rich foods. It does more harm than good. If you can’t resist the cravings, try eating fresh fruits or restrict sweets only during mealtimes. It’s always better to rinse your mouth or brush your teeth after consuming sugary foods.
Rinse your mouth: If you are suffering from morning sickness, avoid brushing immediately after vomiting. Rinse your mouth with plain water to wash away the acid.
Visit a dentist: Preventive dental checkups during pregnancy is safe and important for your dental health. Your dentist can give your teeth a thorough cleanse and give you some advice about keeping your teeth clean at home. Make sure you inform your dentist about your pregnancy, how far along you are and the medications you are taking.
There’s no doubt that pregnancy brings with it new habits, new diet restrictions and a slew of other changes. It causes numerous bodily changes, and your teeth and gums are no exception. From the time of conception, you’re making conscious efforts to stay healthy. Oral care should also be made a priority. After all, while you may be preoccupied preparing for a new addition in your family, dental hygiene usually goes unnoticed. But remember, good oral health is crucial for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. MB
Preventive dental care is safe during pregnancy and important for the health of the mother and the baby