Proper Dental Care During Pregnancy : Thinking about your baby and prenatal care is normal during pregnancy; however, thinking about your teeth and dental care may not be forefront on your mind. Women need to pay special attention to their teeth and gums especially during pregnancy to avoid the increased risk of dental problems.
Pregnancy brings a change in hormones, especially increased levels of estrogen and progesterone, which are linked to plaque buildup on teeth. Plaque that is not removed can cause gingivitis and swollen gums that are tender and prone to bleed. Most pregnant women experience gingivitis to some degree, but it doesn’t usually surface until the second trimester. If you had gingivitis before becoming pregnant, your condition will likely be aggravated; untreated gingivitis can lead to a more serious problem — periodontal disease. Swollen gums that become irritated can also lead to pregnancy tumors, benign growths that will usually shrink and disappear without treatment. However, if the tumor causes discomfort or interferes with chewing or brushing, the dentist may suggest removing it.
A lot of women ignore their teeth while pregnant as other parts of their body get all the attention. However, the consequences of this have been dire as these women have suffered from various diseases that were harmful to them and their growing baby. It is difficult to imagine that poor dental care during pregnancy can actually lead to tumors in the gums or even pre-term labor. Therefore, pregnant women should consider their overall dental health in order to ensure that they enjoy a stress-free nine months.
Pregnancy is usually associated with a lot of hormones, most of which are responsible for poor oral health. Hormones usually lead to the increased production of mucous throughout the body, including the mouth. This may cause the gums to become red and tender or even to swell. As a result, a lot of women experience bleeding gums during pregnancy. It is therefore advisable for women to use mild toothbrushes while brushing and not to be too aggressive as this could aggravate the situation.
A lot of women experience nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. This usually leads to an increase in the acid levels in the mouth. The situation is aggravated by the fact that pregnant women are usually more prone to dehydration meaning that they will have less saliva. Saliva helps a lot in balancing the pH levels in the mouth. Women who vomit a lot during pregnancy should ensure that they rinse their mouth thoroughly afterwards in order to get rid of any acid that may have been left in the mouth.
Increased acidity in the mouth may cause women to have more cavities. Also, constant vomiting means that a lot of bacteria from the stomach are deposited in the mouth and between the teeth. This also leads to cavities and increased plaque. Pregnant women should take regular sips of water, and they should floss and brush their teeth regularly.
It is also believed that babies take a lot of nutrients from their mother during pregnancy. One of the nutrients that the baby needs is calcium which is necessary for their growing bones. This means that the mother will have less calcium for their own teeth, unless they take the necessary precautions. Mothers are advised to take foods rich in calcium during pregnancy such as milk and yoghurt.
Women who do not exercise proper dental care when pregnant are prone to pregnancy gingivitis. This will cause their gums to recede and to redden and their teeth may become loose. If left untreated, pregnancy gingivitis usually leads to periodontal disease which can actually result in tooth loss. Also, the bacteria released from these diseases could cause a woman to go into pre-term labor, thus causing harm to their baby. Pregnancy tumors may also develop in the mouth, and the mom-to-be may have to undergo an operation to get rid of them.
Pregnant women should visit their dentist at least once during the nine months of pregnancy as part of their dental care routine. They should ensure that the dentist knows that they are pregnant. This is because some procedures such as x-rays and teeth whitening are dangerous during pregnancy.
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