Ways to Protect Your Teeth during Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a time when you have to take special care of yourself. During pregnancy, your body goes through a lot of physical and hormonal changes and if you do not take proper care of yourself, you might have to deal with some adverse side effects. Your doctor will advise you about proper diet, right exercises, and oral care.
Yes, oral care is an important aspect of a healthy pregnancy. Not following proper oral care routine can lead to dental problems and can also affect the health of your unborn child. Read on further to find out how you can protect your teeth during pregnancy.
Follow Proper Oral Hygiene Routine
It is important to brush your teeth at least three times a day- in the morning, after lunch, and before going to bed. At night time, rinsing with an antimicrobial mouthwash will help prevent plaque buildup. As far as brushing is concerned, you cannot use any toothpaste.
You have to make sure that your toothpaste contains fluoride. Just check the fine prints on the toothpaste to find out if it contains ADA-approved fluoride. Furthermore, do not forget to floss daily. Flossing helps remove food particles and plaque in between the teeth.
Yes, there will be days when you will feel too tired to even get up, but remember that proper oral hygiene during pregnancy prevents plaque buildup and tooth decay.
Gum Problems During Pregnancy
Hormonal changes during pregnancy often lead to gum problems. In fact, at least 50 percent of pregnant women develop gingivitis during pregnancy. Gingivitis is a condition in which the gums become inflamed and bleed easily. If you notice that your gums are bleeding when you brush, chances are that you are suffering from gingivitis.
The pregnancy hormones cause the gums to become easily irritated by plaque buildup. So the first thing you need to make sure is that you minimize plaque buildup. For that, you need to follow proper oral hygiene. If the problem persists, seek the help of your dentist immediately. In most cases, the problem resolves itself after pregnancy.
Some women develop pregnancy epulis, which is a condition in which a certain part of the gum becomes enlarged and become prone to bleeding easily. In most cases, dentists clean up the area using a normal cleaning method. However, in some cases excision might be required to clean it up.
Women who are suffering from gingivitis or some other periodontal disease might notice that the problem gets aggravated during pregnancy. Severe cases of gingivitis can lead to tooth loss during pregnancy.
Moreover, studies have shown that women suffering from periodontal problem prior to their pregnancy are more likely to give premature birth. That is why doctors often advise that if you plan to get pregnant, have your dental problem treated first.
Morning Sickness and Tooth Decay
Morning sickness is a pregnancy condition that most women face during the first three months of their pregnancy. The vomit is acidic in nature and can lead to the erosion of tooth enamel if proper precautions are not followed by pregnant women.
After you vomit, the first thing that you need to do is rinse your mouth thoroughly with water mixed with a teaspoon of baking soda. This neutralizes the acid before it has a chance to damage your teeth. To remove the taste of vomit from your mouth, you can dab a little bit of toothpaste on your teeth and then rinse thoroughly with water.
Give your enamel at least an hour to recover before your brush. You should never brush immediately after you have vomited because your teeth are covered in acid and the brushing action will damage the enamel.
Vomiting While Brushing
Many women stop brushing their teeth regularly during pregnancy because they throw up. This is not the solution to the problem. Remember that not brushing regularly will only lead to dental problems, some of which can have a negative effect on the baby’s health.
You can try changing your toothpaste to stop you from puking while brushing. Some women find using a toothbrush with a small head very effecting in stopping the retching effect of brushing. You can also try brushing slowly or concentrating on other things while brushing to effectively deal with this problem.
Food craving is a common symptom of pregnancy and many women find themselves indulging in all sorts of sugary, spicy, and salty food to satisfy their cravings. Sugary and acidic snacks increase the chance of tooth decay in normal conditions and during pregnancy, the risk increases further.
The best thing to do is a snack on sugar-free, low fat, low salt, and high fiber snacks. Most importantly, do not forget to rinse your mouth with water after having a snack.
Balanced Diet During Pregnancy
A balanced diet is not only good for the baby, but also for your teeth. Calcium is very important for teeth and bones; therefore, make sure that you at least have four servings of calcium-rich food every day during your pregnancy.
Milk, cheese, calcium-enriched soy milk, and yogurt are rich sources of calcium. In order for your body to absorb the calcium, you also need to increase your Vitamin D intake during pregnancy. Eggs, fish, cheese, fortified margarine, and limited exposure to the sun are good sources of Vitamin D.
It is absolutely safe to go for your regular dental checkups during pregnancy. However, make sure that your dentist knows the stage of your pregnancy and what medications, if any, you are taking.
Most dentists advise their patients to go for a thorough cleaning during the second and early third trimester so that gingivitis can be controlled and treated right away. Dental procedures like crowns and cavity filling are safe during pregnancy and it is always best to carry them out during the second trimester. Dental X-rays are also safe, provided that your dentist follows proper procedures to protect you and your unborn child from the harmful effects of X-rays. Emergency procedures can also be carried out with proper precautions. If you are interested in cosmetic dental work, it is best to do it after pregnancy.
Following these basic dental care procedures and tips will ensure that your teeth stay healthy during and after pregnancy.