Pregnancy is perhaps one of the most difficult parts of womanhood (next to, well…everything else). Not only do you have to adjust to new and strange changes to your body, but you also have to bear the responsibility of protecting your unborn child for 9 months. This can often mean taking a break from strenuous work and hobbies for a while, as well as paying more attention to your overall health and hygiene.
Changing hormone levels, exhaustion, frequent vomiting, and other ailments can often make you more susceptible to dental health problems during pregnancy. Any problems you had with plaque and harmful oral bacteria before are very likely to worsen and cause complications if they aren’t properly treated right away. Here are some common dental health problems you should watch out for during your pregnancy.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 60-75% of women experience gingivitis during pregnancy. This is because changing hormone levels, an increase in oral bacteria, and a weaker immune response cause the gums to become more susceptible to plaque and periodontal disease. When left untreated, gingivitis can cause complications such as lost teeth, premature birth, and low birth weight.
Tooth Decay And Cavities
Cavities can pose serious risks for both the mother and her unborn child. Studies have shown that there is a strong relationship between the dental health of an expecting mother and the prevalence of cavities in their children. If a mother has untreated caries during her pregnancy, her child is three times more likely to develop cavities and even tooth loss. This can cause serious problems not only to their dental health, but also to their self-esteem and emotional well-being. Kids can be pretty cruel when it comes to things they find weird and strange, after all.
Dietary cravings can increase a woman’s chances of developing cavities during pregnancy. Eating too many sweets can cause sugar to dissolve the protective enamel of your teeth. Other risk factors for dental caries during pregnancy include a higher pH level in the mouth, as well as improper oral hygiene practices.
Also known as “pyogenic granuloma”, pregnancy tumors are an overgrowth of gum tissue that often occur during the second trimester. These non-cancerous lumps usually form between teeth and are known to have a raw raspberry-like appearance. Since these tumors bleed very easily, they can cause problems with chewing and eating. Thankfully, pregnancy tumors usually go away on their own after birth.
Changing hormones, as well as excess plaque buildup, can cause pregnancy tumors to form between teeth. Poor oral hygiene, improperly worn fillings, and pre-existing dental health problems can also cause your gums to swell severely during pregnancy.
Keeping Your Teeth In Shape
Bacteria can cause serious trouble not only for your teeth and gums, but also for your unborn baby. Excess bacteria can enter the uterus through the bloodstream and induce premature birth. Mothers can also pass on harmful mouth bacteria to their newborn children and increase their chances of developing embarrassing dental health problems in the future.
Maintaining good lifestyle habits and practicing proper oral hygiene will spare both you and your child from any serious health problems and complications. Here are some of the best ways to keep your teeth in top shape during pregnancy.
1. Visit Your Dentist
There’s no need to skip out on important check-ups and appointments during pregnancy. Visiting your dentist will ensure that any dental problems you might have will be spotted and addressed right away. Your dentist will also be able to prescribe any necessary treatments or changes to your oral hygiene routine if he or she thinks you’re at risk for problems like gingivitis and painful cavities.
When visiting your dentist, be sure to inform him or her of any medications you might be taking. Certain medicines and vitamins might not be compatible with your current treatment plan, so your dentist will need to make adjustments as needed.
2. Practice Proper Oral Hygiene
Prevention is always better than cure. Brushing and flossing your teeth every day will ensure that you don’t suffer painful cavities, swollen gums, and other serious health complications during your pregnancy. If morning sickness is making it difficult for you to brush, you can use antacids to keep your stomach acid at bay.
3. Maintain A Healthy Diet
It’s best not to eat too many sweets during pregnancy. Too much sugar can erode your teeth and cause harmful bacteria to multiply in your mouth. Instead, try to follow a diet filled with healthy fruits, vegetables, dairy, and other essential food as best as you can. You should also try drinking water instead of hot or sugary drinks to lower your chances of cavities.