Good oral health is essential for the overall health of both mother and child.
You may experience some changes in your oral health during pregnancy. Pregnancy changes in your body can affect your gums and teeth.
Dental care during pregnancy is not only safe and effective, it’s essential for combating the adverse effects of oral disease.
During pregnancy, you have more blood flowing through your body, more acid in your mouth and rising hormone levels.
Pregnancy causes physical changes and due to a surge in hormones (estrogen and progesterone) can affect your body’s response to plaque or can exaggerate the way gum tissues react to plaque and can have a great effect on your oral health. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can result in several changes in the mouth.
If the plaque isn’t removed, it can cause gingivitis -red, swollen, tender gums that are more likely to bleed. This “pregnancy gingivitis” affects most women during pregnancy. If you already have gingivitis, the condition is likely to worsen during pregnancy.
Dentists in India are educating patients about the importance of cleaning to treat pregnancy gingivitis.
Patients tend to delay the treatment of oral disease due to concerns for fetal safety.
Routine dental treatment can be performed safely at any time during pregnancy. Untreated dental disease can lead to pain, infections and unnecessary exposure to medications, any of which could harm the developing fetus.
Poor oral health also can affect the nutritional intake of expectant mothers, which is essential for fetal growth and survival.
Dentists have the ability to maintain the oral health of expectant mothers by treating the dental findings that are common during pregnancy.
Pregnancy does not automatically damage your teeth. However, the demands of pregnancy can lead to particular dental problems in some women. With proper hygiene at home and professional help from your dentist, your teeth should remain healthy throughout pregnancy.
Dentists in Delhi encourage women to get dental care while pregnant. It is a crucial period of time in a woman’s life and maintaining oral health is directly related to good overall health.
Dental disease can affect a developing baby or baby’s teeth
Studies show a link between preterm, low-birth weight babies and gum disease in pregnant women. Excessive bacteria can enter the bloodstream through your gums. If this happens, the bacteria can travel to the uterus, triggering the production of chemicals called prostaglandins, which are suspected to induce premature labor.
Taking good care of your gums and teeth and appropriate dental treatment during pregnancy may reduce the risk of premature birth and can help you and your baby be healthy.
What are signs and symptoms of dental health problems during pregnancy?
- Bad breath
- Gums that hurt when they’re touched, or gums that bleed when you brush your teeth
- Mouth sores, lumps or other growths
- Red or red-purple gums
- Shiny, sore or swollen gums
- Toothache or other pain
Some dental health problems during pregnancy include
- Gingivitis-This is when you have red, swollen or sore gums. Your gums may bleed when you brush your teeth. High levels of the hormone progesterone can lead to gum disease during pregnancy. Without treatment, gingivitis can become a serious gum disease called periodontitis.
- In reputed dental clinics in Delhi pregnant women are counseled on the importance of maintaining gum health during pregnancy.
- Loose teeth-High levels of the hormones progesterone and estrogen during pregnancy can affect the tissues and bones that keep your teeth in place. This can make your teeth loose.
- Periodontitis-This is a serious gum disease. It happens when there’s swelling and infection in the gums and bones that keep your teeth in place. This can make your teeth loose.
- Pregnancy tumors-The hormonal fluctuations that result from pregnancy can produce benign pregnancy tumors in the mouth. These tumors are not cancer. They are lumps that form when swollen gums become irritated, usually in between teeth. This can cause bleeding. The tumors may be caused by having too much plaque (sticky bacteria that forms on teeth). These tumors usually appear after the first trimester and typically go away after delivery; however, surgical removal may be required when these tumors bleed, interfere with eating or do not resolve after delivery.
- Tooth decay-This is when acids in your mouth break down a tooth’s enamel. Enamel is the hard, outer layer of a tooth. Because you have more acid in your mouth than usual during pregnancy, you are more likely to have tooth decay. If you have morning sickness and throw up often, you have even more acid in your mouth.
- Tooth loss-If you have serious tooth decay or gum disease, your teeth may fall out.
- Vomiting-Pregnancy hormones soften the ring of muscle that keeps food inside the stomach. Gastric reflux (regurgitating food or drink) or the vomiting associated with morning sickness can coat your teeth with strong stomach acids. Repeated reflux and vomiting can damage tooth enamel and increase the risk of decay.
How can you help prevent dental health problems during pregnancy?
- Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and floss every day. Brush using a toothbrush with soft bristles twice a day. Floss once a day to clean in between your teeth. Rinse every time you eat or snack. Regular brushing and flossing around the gum line can remove plaque and prevent gum disease (periodontitis) and tooth decay. If untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease.
- If morning sickness makes you feel too sick to brush your teeth, rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash. If you throw up, rinse your mouth with water to wash away the acid.
- Visit your dentist for a regular dental checkup and professional cleaning every 6 months, even during pregnancy. Eat healthy foods. They give you and your growing baby important nutrients. Your baby’s teeth start developing between 3 and 6 months of pregnancy.
- Good Nutrition-particularly plenty of calcium, protein and vitamins A, C and D, help keep the baby’s teeth grow healthy and strong.
- Some women experience unusual food cravings (and food avoidance) while they are pregnant. A regular desire for sugary snacks may increase your risk of tooth decay. Limit sweets and try to snack on low-sugar foods instead. If nothing but sweetness will satisfy your craving, try to sometimes choose healthier options such as fresh fruits. Rinse your mouth with water or brush your teeth after having sugary snacks.
- To neutralize acid after vomiting, pregnant women should rinse the mouth thoroughly with plain tap water. Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after vomiting and should brush only after the mouth has been rinsed and the acid has been neutralized to prevent further damage to the enamel. While the teeth are covered in stomach acids, the vigorous action of the toothbrush may scratch the tooth enamel.
Are there any dental procedures I should avoid during pregnancy?
Get regular dental checkups before and during pregnancy. If you are planning to become pregnant or suspect you are pregnant, you should see a dentist right away. If you haven’t been to the dentist recently, see your dentist early in pregnancy. Dental checkups during pregnancy are important so that your dentist can find and treat dental problems.
Otherwise, you should schedule a checkup in your first trimester for a cleaning. Regular teeth cleanings also help control plaque, prevent tooth decay and gum problems. Dentist may avoid treating some problems in the first trimester of pregnancy because this is an important time in your baby’s growth and development.
Your dentist will assess your oral condition and map out a dental plan for the rest of your pregnancy. A visit to the dentist also is recommended in the second trimester for a cleaning, to monitor changes and to gauge the effectiveness of your oral hygiene.
Non-emergency procedures can safely be performed throughout pregnancy, but the best time for any dental treatment is the fourth through six months. Dentists in India make sure dental treatment/cleaning of gums for pregnant women is done in their second trimester as it is the safest.
Only X-rays that are needed for emergencies should be taken during pregnancy. Elective procedures that can be postponed should be delayed until after the baby’s birth if you’ve had a miscarriage in the past, or if you’re at higher risk of miscarriage than other women. Miscarriage is when a baby dies in the womb before 20 weeks of pregnancy.
In dental clinics in India pregnant and lactating women are given special chair during treatment.
You are less likely to have dental problems during pregnancy if you already have good oral hygiene habits.
- Oral health assessment and treatment should be an essential part of prenatal care, as these steps allow the patient to receive ongoing advice concerning proper oral hygiene and infant oral health care.
- Regular checkups and good dental health habits can help keep you and your baby healthy.
Posted By – Dr. Shriya