During pregnancy, expectant mothers may experience a wide variety of changes in both hormones and health. At times, oral health may be overlooked during pregnancy, but it is vital to take proper care of your mouth. During pregnancy, existing dental conditions may worsen, or new conditions may pop up. The following are a few common dental conditions associated with pregnancy:
Pregnancy Gingivitis and Periodontitis
Gingivitis symptoms are red swollen tender gums that easily bleed. The growth of bacteria causes the disease as a result of increased hormones. Periodontitis is a progression of gingivitis where tooth loosens and bone is lost, due to the plaque that releases destructive toxins. Excessive bacteria may induce premature labor and thus preterm babies and low-birthweight infants.
Morning sickness is characterized by frequent vomiting that leads to enamel erosion due to gastric acid left in the mouth that attack the teeth.
These are lumps that appear on the gum and between teeth. The swellings are harmless and not cancerous. Most tumors regress after childbirth though others may cause severe pain and even bleeding prompting their removal.
Increased Risk of Tooth Decay
A pregnant woman is prone to cavities if they eat more carbohydrates than usual, eat sugary snacks and drinks. The sugar and starch that remains in the mouth are converted to acid which attacks the teeth enamel.
Dry Mouth and Tooth Mobility
Having a dry mouth may lead to bacteria growth in the mouth which may have otherwise been cleared by saliva. Tooth mobility is a condition where the ligaments and bones supporting the teeth loosen.
Dental Services and Oral Hygiene Tips During Pregnancy
It is highly advisable to schedule a dental appointment before getting pregnant as some problems can be treated in advance. When pregnant, regular dental checkups are recommended to curb bacteria. Dental cleanings control plaque and reduce gum irritation; this is highly advisable when you have gingivitis and when brushing and flossing are often skipped due to morning sickness, tender gums or exhaustions.
When visiting a dentist, an expectant woman should always reveal any medication they are taking, underlying conditions and any changes they have experienced in their oral health. A dentist may prescribe pain relievers and antibiotics which are safe during pregnancy as part of treatment. Sometimes an x-ray may be required to diagnose a dental problem or if there is an emergency. Proper precautions are put in place for a safe X-ray. When an extraction, root canal or restoration cannot wait till childbirth, dentists use safe anesthetic.
Brushing and flossing should be a daily routine to prevent caries and gum diseases. Mouthwash also helps in keeping your teeth clean and healthy. Dentists may advise on the best toothpaste brands that have met safety and effectiveness criteria. After vomiting, one should rinse their mouth with lots of water and wait for about 30 minutes before brushing the teeth.
Good nutrition is vital for the overall oral health. Plenty of Vitamin C and B12 is recommended during pregnancy and especially between third and sixth month. Rather than snacking on sugary snacks, it is advisable to eat healthy and low-sugar snacks.
Untreated dental diseases are harmful to you and the unborn baby. Maintaining good oral health means having an overall good health. Good health means a happy family and a happy nation.