Taking care of your teeth and gums is very important, especially once you step into the pregnancy phase. Premature birth and low birth weight are common incidences, which are a result of oral disease. Gingivitis, for instance, affects nearly sixty to seventy-five percent of expectant mothers.
It may sound pretty easy to deal with since, after all, you’re an oral health care advocate. However, your hormonal changes may trick you. Vomiting and nausea (or what they call morning sickness) can already pose problems to your teeth and gums due to the stomach acids your body releases. These acids may eventually wear out your enamel coating.
How Does Pregnancy Affect Oral Health?
Particularly during the first trimester of pregnancy, women may notice certain changes in their bodies. In this period, your dental health is at more risk. Here’s why:
- Hormone changes can elevate the possibility of having dry mouth and periodontal disease, especially if you are currently on medication
- Bones and ligaments in the mouth tend to loosen up for the time being. It doesn’t trigger tooth loss, yes, but it puts your pearly whites in somewhat a jiggle state.
- Fatigue and morning sickness occurs in the first trimester. These may lead to oral negligence and make your teeth highly vulnerable to caries or dental decay. The strong stomach acids caused by frequent vomiting are not healthy for the teeth. Some women feel nauseous every time they brush and floss.
- Cravings also increase the likelihood of developing tooth decay mainly because of more recurrent or higher consumptions of sugar
- Gingivitis is another dental problem that deters most moms-to-be from doing regular brushing since it causes gum bleeding (becomes apparent between the second and eight months). Other signs and symptoms include redness, tenderness, and shiny gums.
- Plaque and bacteria accumulate more rapidly once you reach the third trimester
- Pyogenic granuloma (known as pregnancy epulis) is a red-colored, rounded growth commonly visible on the gums that initiate bleeding
To help ease out your worries, here are some basic yet crucial steps to maintain that lustrous, healthy smile while keeping your baby safe and sound!
- Follow Good Oral Hygiene Practices
Good dental hygiene is way beyond brushing your teeth. Flossing and rinsing are also vital, alongside the use of quality products to wash down debris and fragments thoroughly.
ü Plaque buildup is the leading cause of tooth corrosion and gum disease. Your best escape would be cleaning your teeth regularly, at least twice a day. It is vital, particularly during the early months of pregnancy. Adequate brushing reduces the acidic environment within the mouth produced by frequent vomiting. Don’t forget to floss in between teeth, do it once daily.
ü The gentleness of a soft-bristled toothbrush on teeth makes it an ideal oral companion for most people. Pregnant women have sensitive teeth and gums; hence, they would surely appreciate having one in their hygiene kit.
ü Brush with fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse that contains the same amount of fluoride. That’s because fluoride aids in getting rid of plaque and giving a boost to the enamel.
ü After reflux or vomiting, give your enamel at least a 30-minute timeframe to recover from acid attack before brushing. Also, be sure to wash down your mouth with clean water to clear up the acid content inside.
When it comes to choosing a toothbrush, being a picky customer is normal as less quality could lead to further dental issues. Several plastic toothbrushes have soft bristles, but if you’re more concerned about the environment, a toothbrush made of bamboo is worth the penny.
Some have nylon bristles that deep clean harmful plaque due to pregnancy, while others integrate boar hair bristles. The latter is less abrasive and won’t ruin your tooth enamel. There are also specialized toothbrushes that gently massage and clean the tongue, gums, and teeth without causing bleeding.
- Eat Right For Your Teeth and Baby
Pregnancy is also a significant phase in which you should be more aware of what you stuff in your body. A well-balanced, nutritious meal keeps the oral cavity in check – making it stronger and healthier. While you cannot stop food cravings, there are preventive steps you can take to protect your teeth, general health, and that little munchkin in your belly at the same time.
Prepare and eat healthy foods such as lean meat, pasta, low-fat dairy products, fruits, and vegetables. They should contain a sufficient amount of calcium, protein, phosphorus, and vitamins A, C & D. Besides providing your growing baby with all the essential nutrients he needs, they also help maintain the pearly appearance and strength of your teeth and gums.
ü Cut down how much and how often you consume sugar. Doing so will dramatically minimize your risk of getting tooth decay. Other areas of your health will greatly benefit you as well.
ü Snacks are not entirely bad for your health as long as they meet your daily nutritional requirements. Soft and gluey snacks usually lead to tooth decay and gum disease, particularly those packed with sugar and unhealthy carbs. Hence, try to avoid these snack foods as possible.
ü Water is your best friend. Drink several glasses of it, especially between snacks and meals. Follow up by brushing your teeth to get rid of debris and leftovers.
- Don’t Skip Dental Checkup Appointments!
This one is usually overlooked due to the idea of hurting both the mother and baby. But in reality, the situation is reversed. It is always a good idea to pay a visit to your dentist for a dental checkup.
How about if you want to get teeth treatment? Fortunately, the entire process is safe as opposed to some common misconceptions. You can even get the necessary oral treatment during any trimester. But the second trimester is deemed the safest period (weeks 14 to 20), plus your back can still endure the pressure of laying back for a longer time.
Continue with your dental care after childbirth to keep your oral health in tiptop shape. Remember, it is your key to achieving optimal wellness. Be sure to invest in good-quality oral hygiene products and implement proper brushing and flossing techniques, and the rest will follow smoothly.