So you or one of your loved ones is pregnant. Congratulations, it is a life changing time of your life! There will be many changes that will occur over the course of 9 months and the mother along with the baby will need to be provided with utmost nourishment in order to attain perfect health. This includes oral health too. As with other changes in the body, oral health does not change significantly but there is a slight difference in the way things work in and around your mouth. Here are 5 major points that need to be kept in mind for women who are pregnant and those around them.
1. Does Pregnancy Lead to Oral Health Damage?
This is an old wives tale. Unlike popular misconception, pregnancy does not damage the teeth or the gums, rather during pregnancy the mother’s immune system is down which means that she is more liable to attain any kind of tooth decay or any other gum disease.
The best way to make sure that no damage occurs to the oral hygiene, it is safest to visit the dentist at the onset of pregnancy. They would not only be able to guide about what is the best routine to follow, but will also give tips that could create some extra protection for the mother and baby. Keep in mind that a dentist will also be able to asses and prevent any kind of damage that may already be taking place in your mouth.
Another important regime to follow is the one that every individual needs to adopt. Brushing, flossing and using mouthwash twice a day every day, using fluoride toothpastes, indulging in a balanced diet and getting teeth cleaned from the dentist regularly. These habits would ensure that oral health is maintained.
2. Over the Counter Products and Pregnancy
Most of the over-the-counter products for oral health care, like mouthwashes, toothpastes and flosses are safe to use during pregnancy. There are some mouthwashes, like ones with alcohol content that need to be avoided and the label clearly says that they should not be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Keep in mind that the oral health of the mother would also ultimately be a clue to the health of baby’s gums and teeth. This is the reason why the mother needs to be extra conscious about using products that provide protection and health.
3. Gingivitis in Pregnancy
As mentioned before, women experience a lot of bodily changes when they conceive. Most of these reasons occur due to the production of or lack of some kind of hormones. Oral health experiences similar changes. Due to the change in hormonal levels, some pregnant ladies develop a gum disease known as gingivitis, a problem where the gums become inflamed, red and easily start bleeding.
There are a few studies that depict that women who acquired gingivitis, delivered babies who were either preterm or had low birth weight. Even though there aren’t enough researches to support this analysis, it is always best to be safe and ensure a healthy gum health. Below are some signs of this disease among pregnant women:
- Red and swollen gums
- Bad odor coming from the mouth
- Gums that bleed easily, especially when teeth are brushed or flossed
This is the reason why it is important to keep in mind that hormonal changes during pregnancy lead to inflammation which can give way to gum diseases like gingivitis. Also understand that accumulation of bacteria or plaque on the gum can increase chances of gum disease and tooth decay. Hence it is essential that oral cleanliness be taken seriously. What’s more, gingivitis could further convert into a more serious and hazardous oral condition.
4. Vitamin Supplement Effect on Oral Health
Studies show that there is no effect whatsoever of vitamin supplements on oral health. But, supplements during pregnancy are very important and calcium, as well as vitamin D are given to all pregnant women to be taken throughout their pregnancy period. Vitamin D ensures the proper absorption of calcium while calcium takes care of the bones of the mother as well as of the baby.
Yes supplements are a must, but dietary changes also help in upping the vitamin game. Diary products and other foods like tofu, dried beans and leafy vegetables are full of calcium so they should be taken in larger quantities during pregnancy. Good sources of vitamin D include sunlight, cheese, tuna, salmon, eggs etc.
5. Morning Sickness and Brushing
Morning sickness in one of the worst and most common symptom of pregnancy that almost all women go through at some point of their pregnancy. For most ladies, morning sickness ends after the first trimester. As regards to oral health, frequent vomiting can lead to erosion of teeth and general flora of the mouth. It’s best to avoid brushing immediately after, as that could damage the enamel of the teeth.