The Relationship Between Pregnancy & Oral Health
While pregnancy can be a thrilling time for women, it can also pose a number of health issues. Oral health complications are a too often overlooked issue for many pregnant women, yet it is crucial to maintain good dental hygiene during this time, just as it is essential to look after the rest of your body.
Why Oral Healthcare is Crucial During Pregnancy
Studies indicate that hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy can negatively impact women’s oral health. Due to an upsurge in progesterone, pregnant women are more vulnerable to periodontal disease, leading to inflamed and easily bleeding gums, known as pregnancy gingivitis. The CDC states that this condition can affect up to 70% of pregnant women.
If left untreated, gum disease can escalate to periodontitis, a severe condition that can result in tooth loss and destruction of supporting tissue. Moreover, bacteria from gum disease can penetrate the bloodstream and potentially impact the growth of the developing fetus.
Changes in diet and oral hygiene practices during pregnancy can also have an impact on oral health. Pregnant women may experience an increased desire for sugary foods and drinks, which can heighten the risk of cavities.
Pregnancy Oral Health Tips
Luckily, there are many steps to take to help maintain good oral health during pregnancy:
Schedule a dental check-up: It is crucial to have a dental exam during early pregnancy, preferably during the first trimester, to detect and resolve any pre-existing dental issues. Inform your dentist about your pregnancy, as certain treatments may require postponement until after childbirth.
Practice good oral hygiene: To prevent cavities and eliminate plaque, brush your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and floss once a day. In case of morning sickness, use water or fluoride mouthwash to rinse your mouth after vomiting to eliminate acid from your teeth. Even if your mouth feels unpleasant after getting sick, it’s vital to avoid brushing immediately after vomiting since it can rub stomach acid onto the teeth, furthering the damage to the enamel.
Watch your diet: Reduce your consumption of sugary foods and drinks and choose alternative snacks like fruits and vegetables. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and rinse your mouth after consuming acidic or sugary foods and beverages.
Use mouthwash: Using an antimicrobial mouthwash can help minimize bacteria in the mouth and prevent gum disease. However, ensure that the mouthwash you choose is safe to use during pregnancy.
Take care of your overall health: To minimize the likelihood of dental issues during pregnancy, it is essential to follow a healthy diet, engage in regular physical activity, remain hydrated, and get sufficient rest.
It is crucial to maintain good oral hygiene during pregnancy for your well-being and that of your baby. By following these recommendations, you can help prevent dental issues and preserve a healthy smile during your pregnancy. If you have any concerns about your dental health during this unique time, feel free to contact us.