Pregnancy can be an exciting time for you. However, the excitement comes with its own share of problems, which include oral problems. With the hormones going crazy in the body, you’re more likely to have gum disease that can also affect your baby’s health. This means while you’re taking care of your baby, you should start right with your mouth. A healthy mouth can save you a lot of trouble during and after the pregnancy. Here are some dental care problems in pregnancy you face and how to prevent them.
Pregnancy Gingivitis: What Is It?
When you’ve so much to think about during pregnancy, it’s easy to overlook your mouth. But if you skip proper oral hygiene, you are most likely to end up with swollen and tender gums that bleed easily. Dentists refer to this as pregnancy gingivitis. It can occur any time during your pregnancy and increases your risk if you don’t follow good hygiene habits.
The hormones in your body allow more bacteria to form in your mouth. And if you already have plaque, the bacteria harbors easily and causes an infection of the gums. Gums recede further down and become swollen. If gingivitis isn’t treated in a timely manner, it causes periodontal disease that slightly increases your baby’s chances to be premature or have low birth weight. Not only that but the infection can spread from your gums to the bones that support your teeth and ultimately lead to tooth loss.
Remember one thing: it’s the plaque that causes gum disease, not hormones. If you prevent the formation of plaque by following good oral hygiene, you’ll have lower chances of developing gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Preventing Dental Problems During Pregnancy
To prevent gingivitis and other oral problems during pregnancy, you should follow good oral hygiene.
• Brush for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and clean between your teeth with a floss once a day.
• Use a soft-bristled toothbrush when brushing as the hormones in your body are more likely to make your gums bleed.
• Use a fluoride mouthwash to rinse your mouth – fluoride strengthens your enamel and helps to remove plaque.
• Limit your sugar intake. Although it’s common to have sugar cravings during pregnancy, sugar attracts bacteria and changes into acid and plaque.
• Rinse your mouth with a baking soda solution after you get sick. Nausea and vomiting increases acid in your mouth, which can cause your tooth enamel to wear away. Make sure you brush your teeth at least one hour after you vomit as brushing will wear the enamel away.
• Chew sugar-less or xylitol containing gum 2-3 times a day. Xylitol is a sugar free sweetener and helps to remove plaque and cleanse the mouth.
These habits will reduce bacterial activity in the mouth, prevent the formation of plaque and tartar and reduce your chances of developing gingivitis.
Dental Procedures During Pregnancy
It’s recommended that you make an appointment with your dentist before getting pregnant. This way, you can have your teeth professionally cleaned and your mouth examined for any problems. Having a healthy mouth during pregnancy can save you a lot of trouble.
In case if you need to have dental procedures done during pregnancy, it’s best to inform your dentist that you’re pregnant. It’s generally recommended that you wait until at least the third trimester or after the delivery for all elective procedures as this is a critical time for your baby’s growth and development.
Most procedures require the use of anesthesia, which can be potentially harmful for the baby. If there is an emergency, however, try to limit the anesthesia as much as possible but have it in enough amount to make you comfortable.
Other than sedatives, you should be concerned about antibiotics and x-rays during dental procedures. Antibiotics like penicillin, amoxicillin, and clindamycin are usually recommended after dental procedures, and are labelled as category B for safety in pregnancy. And as far as x-rays are concerned, just make sure you inform your dentist about your pregnancy so they can take full precaution to safeguard you and your baby – by using a lead apron that covers your upper body.
While it’s recommended to postpone dental procedures until after the delivery, it’s essential to get preventive dental work to avoid oral infections and gum disease. You should schedule regular appointments with the dentist during your pregnancy to have your teeth professionally cleaned and scaled.
Nutritious Diet During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is that time of your life when you’re not only taking care of yourself but also your baby. Your baby’s teeth begin to develop when you’re only three months along. Hence, it’s highly recommended that you eat a nutritious diet packed with essential minerals and vitamins including vitamin A, C, and D, and Calcium, which help with proper tooth development of the baby. If you want your baby to have healthy teeth, be sure to eat right during your pregnancy.