Pregnancy is a time full of changes for a woman’s body. Being a physical part of a mother’s body, the baby is affected by these changes as well. That’s why it’s important to pay extra attention to your oral health while pregnant. Apart from being more susceptible to various periodontal diseases, any pre-existing oral disease can grow much more severe when you’re expecting. In this blog post, we will answer some common questions about oral health and pregnancy.
What oral issues am I at risk of during pregnancy?
Many women experience pregnancy gingivitis, which is when there is excessive plaque buildup present on the teeth causing irritation to the gums. The symptoms may include bleeding, inflamed and red gums. Pregnancy gingivitis happens because of an increase in hormone levels which directly influences how gums react to the bacteria present in plaque. It can be reduced and prevented by keeping your teeth, especially the areas close to the gum line, clean.
How can I ensure a healthy pregnancy?
Dental care during pregnancy is important for a healthy baby. Women who plan to have a baby and pregnant woman should visit their dentist for routine checkups which helps avoid complications. Having a healthy diet, brushing and flossing after meals can also prevent dental issues.
What should I expect during my visit to the dentist?
Avoid visiting a dentist during the first trimester of the pregnancy as the stress of the visit can have adverse effects on the health of the foetus. The best time to schedule the appointment is during the fourth and the sixth month of your pregnancy. In the third trimester, it can be extremely uncomfortable for you to sit in the dental chair for an extended period of time, making a dental examination unfeasible. Generally, dental anaesthetics, X-rays, antibiotics and pain medications are not prescribed during the first trimester, unless it is absolutely necessary.
If you need to schedule an emergency visit, you should inform your dentist of your pregnancy beforehand. Discuss any stress factors, your medical history, past miscarriages (if any) and the medications you’re currently taking to your dentist as all of these can greatly influence your oral health care plan.
How can I avoid tooth decay during pregnancy?
Tooth cavities are formed when the bacteria present in the mouth use the carbohydrates and sugars from the food we eat and produces an acid which dissolves the enamel. Pregnant women are at a greater risk of developing tooth decay as they have unhealthy food cravings, decreased flossing and brushing and morning sickness resulting in vomiting. All of these increase the amount of acid in the oral cavity. However, it can easily be prevented by brushing twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and a mild toothpaste. Also, try and avoid sugary snacks altogether.
Being pregnant is one of the most life-changing experiences that a woman goes through. But most women overlook visiting a dentist and should realise that it is important. Maintaining your oral health ensures your baby is happy and healthy when he/she comes into the world.