Oral Health and Pregnancy

Food cravings and morning sickness are the common symptoms during pregnancy. After these maintaining a good oral health may likely be the last area of concern for a pregnant woman. The Australian Dental Association (ADA) has introduced a fact sheet with tips and advices to assist and aid you in maintaining good oral health particularly during pregnancy.

Oral Health and Pregnancy
Photo: skprevention.ca

Visiting the dentist

It is vital to have your teeth thoroughly checked before you plan to become pregnant. However, you can visit your dentist for routine dental treatment during pregnancy as well.

If you haven’t got your teeth check before you conceived, don’t hesitate to visit your dentist now. Make sure that you have healthy gums and teeth. Also, tell your dentist about your pregnancy before scheduling an appointment. More than often, dentists recommend a check-up in second trimester because the morning sickness has settled down in majority of the women at that time.

Food cravings

Food cravings and food aversions are common symptoms during pregnancy. In some women, the craving is for sugary snacks that might cause your teeth to decay. It is recommended to use the snacks on low sugar foods. In case you will satisfy by only sweet snacks, you can better have healthier choices as that of fresh fruits and yogurts. If possible, consume your snacks close to your meal times so that you can brush your teeth afterwards. However, if your meal times and snack times don’t coincide with each other, simply rinse your mouth with water or milk as this will wash away any harmful sugar contents from teeth that can result in tooth decay.

Morning sickness and reflux

During pregnancy, 80% of women experience some sort of morning sickness. In the course of morning sickness, looking after your teeth becomes the last thing on your mind. However, it is recommended to take care of your teeth right from the start so that you need not to face severe complications afterward.

If you are experiencing vomiting or reflux on regular basis, then your teeth must be exposed to the strong stomach acids that are capable of causing dental erosion.

You can follow these steps to protect your teeth from erosion and decay:

  • The first thing of which you need to take of is not to brush your teeth immediately after vomiting as the strong stomach acids present on your teeth can damage the tooth enamel and the strong dynamic action of the toothbrush can further deteriorate the tooth enamel. After vomiting, wait at least for an hour before brushing your teeth.
  • In a meanwhile, you can rinse your teeth with water (desirably fluoridated tap water) that will help you removing most of the acid from your teeth.
  • Other thing that you can try is to smear fluoride toothpaste on your teeth mildly. Or even you can use alcohol free fluoride mouthwash to rinse your teeth.
  • If you are confused or in doubt, feel free to talk to your dentist who is in better position to help you.

Gagging while brushing teeth

Some women often experience gagging while brushing their teeth, especially molars. Follow these steps to avoid gagging:

  • Opt for different flavored fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Try to use a toothbrush with small head, like one for toddlers.
  • Don’t brush in haste. Take your time while brushing your teeth.
  • Keep your concentration on breathing while brushing your teeth.

You influence your baby’s chances of dental decay

It has been proved through research that the oral health of mothers may have an impact on the future oral health of her baby.

Interestingly, your baby’s oral health is by far much influenced by your own state of oral health. By maintaining a good oral health, you can minimize the risk of tooth decay in your baby.

Gum disease (Gingivitis and Periodontists)

It is a matter of common observation that bacterial irritation and inflammation become more frequent during the time of pregnancy. It happens because of increased activities of hormones that trigger the bacterial irritants located in plaque.

Gingivitis is an inflammation that causes damage to the gums. It usually appears during the second trimester. The obvious symptoms include: redness, swelling of the gums and bleeding, particularly during brushing and flossing your teeth. The simple way to treat gingivitis is to brush and floss your teeth regularly.

Periodontist is known to be the deeper gum tissues infection. This infection can lead to permanent damage to your gums and teeth and in severe cases you can even loss your tooth.

Surprisingly, periodontists may become more severe during pregnancy. It is often associated with premature birth and low weight babies.

It is extremely vital to start practicing good oral hygiene right before the pregnancy and continue to follow it during and after pregnancy. Visiting your dentist during pregnancy for regular check-up is very important.

For healthy teeth you need to:

  • Use fluoride toothpaste and brush your teeth at least twice a day.
  • Floss (dental thread) your teeth regularly.
  • During pregnancy, keep a routine of regular check-up with your dentist.
  • Keep yourself on healthy diet.
  • Drink as much water as you can.
  • Limit the intake of sugary food and drink.
  • Use healthy food to snack on.