During pregnancy, many women focus more on pregnancy and forget to take care of some other vital parts, and taking care of teeth is one of those. Dental care is critical during your pregnancy time because your health will affect the health of your baby. So if you do not take care of your teeth, it will impact your baby’s health and cause some issues. So as long as you are visiting your gynecologist, it is also very essential to have visits to your dentist’s chamber too. You need to take advice from your dentist about the process of taking care of teeth during pregnancy time and even after pregnancy.
Today we will discuss how your baby’s health is connected to your oral health and how you can start taking care of your teeth during pregnancy time. Let’s get started!
Let’s focus on the critical points at first:
- Oral health is an essential thing that must be included in your pregnancy care list
- Dental health issues may cause serious complications such as premature birth. So there is no chance to ignore it.
- Many of us are worried about X-ray’s checkup during pregnancy time. DO not worry about that, X-rays, related to dental care, are very safe during pregnancy. So do not worry about visiting your dentist often.
- Never wait with any dental problems during pregnancy time; attend to your dentist’s chamber right away.
- Brush your teeth regularly, two times a day, in the morning, and before going to sleep at night.
How Can Dental Health Affect Pregnancy?
Dental health means the health of your teeth, mouth, and gums, and it is also called as oral health. We all know that oral health is an essential part of our overall health, and if you are pregnant, it becomes much more critical as it will also affect your baby. Thus it becomes an essential part of your parental care. During pregnancy time, you may usually face some problems with your teeth because pregnancy increases the risk of it. And this problem can cause issues to your newborn baby, such as premature birth or can cause gum disease.
If your baby is born before the regular 37 weeks period, it is called premature birth, and a premature baby will have so many health problems from birth to his or her entire life than other babies. Don’t be afraid; if you take perfect care of your oral health during pregnancy time, you will not face any issues either with your health or with the baby’s health.
During pregnancy, you may face the following problems with your oral health:
- During pregnancy, levels of some hormones such as progesterone and estrogen will increase and put your oral health at risk
- During pregnancy, the most common thing every woman face is that you will see changes in your eating habit. You will likely eat some foods much more than before, and such foods can affect your oral health.
- During pregnancy, you may think to brush two times are time-consuming, and most of the time, you may ignore to clean correctly and two times. So take care of your teeth all the time.
Common problems you may face during pregnancy:
Cavities are defined as the small damaged portion in your teeth surface. It is known as tooth decay or caries sometime. During pregnancy time, you will have a higher chance of having cavities, which will be very risky for your baby. Because in this way, bacteria may get inside your baby’s body and cause cavities to the baby too.
Gingivitis is a serious oral issue that can cause some other severe gum diseases if not treated. Gingivitis defined as the inflammation of gums, which is caused by the increased level of hormones during pregnancy. Researchers found that about 70% of women suffer from gingivitis during their pregnancy time.
Signs and symptoms of gingivitis:
- Redness and swelling
- Tenderness in the gums
- Bleeding of the gums though you may brush very smoothly
- Shiny gums
As we have said before that during pregnancy, some hormones like progesterone and estrogen level would increase than usual will cause loose teeth by loosening the bones and tissues which hold your teeth in place.
We have said about gingivitis, right? Untreated gingivitis will cause severe diseases like periodontitis or gum disease. This will lead to a serious infection in the gums and damage to the bones which support your teeth, and thus teeth will get loose, and sometimes your dentist will have to pull those teeth up. Your dentist will also check if your problem leads to bacteremia yet, which is a more severe problem and requires immediate treatment. If you smoke, you have to stop it during pregnancy, and smoking leads to gum diseases.
Pregnancy tumors, also called as pyogenic granuloma, are lumps that form on the gums between teeth and are not cancer. These tumors bleed easily and look red and raw. Having too much plaque causes these tumors. After giving birth, these tumors go away, but in some cases, you may require treatment from your dentist to remove these tumors.
Vomiting in the morning during pregnancy is a common thing that may lead to too much stomach acid to your teeth. And it will harm the hard surface of your teeth. This morning sickness is called nausea or NVP, which usually happens during the first few weeks of pregnancy.
Signs and symptoms of oral problems during pregnancy:
There are few symptoms by which you can identify that you have some problems with your dental health. Once you can see any signs, you must need to visit your dentist without waiting because if you make late, it will impact your baby’s health too. Some signs may not be visible by others as if you are feeling dizzy, so you have to understand if you are facing any casualties.
Some common signs and symptoms you may find if you are having dental problems are:
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Mouth sores or lumps on the gums
- New spaces between teeth
- Receding gums (when you can see roots of your teeth)
- Gums that are red, swollen shiny; gums that bleed easily
With any of those symptoms, if you also have pain in teeth, visit your dentist immediately because if there is an infection, you need to go through proper treatment urgently; otherwise, it will put your baby in danger.
Prevention of Dental Problems during Pregnancy Time:
It is not a hard task to prevent or get rid of dental problems during your pregnancy time if you follow some simple jobs and visit your dentist regularly. Below are a few key points that you need to consult with your dentist during pregnancy:
- Consult with your doctor when you are pregnant and do some regular checkups of your dental health. Even you can have a visit to the dentist when you are planning for a baby
- You should always consult with your doctor before taking any kind of medicine, either it is a prescription medicine or supplements or even herbal products. Healthcare provides a prescription by which you can get medicine from shop and supplements are those who can make up some nutrients like Vitamin B or iron. Because you may not get enough nutrients from your foods that you eat and sometime you may also need to go through herbal products like tea or pill, which is made from herbs.
- If you find that there is any high health risk for you or for your baby or for both of you. If you have chronic health conditions, you may face complications from a previous pregnancy. Also, you may have some other issues which can harm both of your health. In this case, you immediately need to visit your dentist and consult the matter.
- If your gynecologist tells you anything regarding your oral health, you need to explain it to your dentist immediately and clear the issue.
You need to do regular dental checkups during pregnancy and even after pregnancy so the dentist can quickly figure out if there is anything wrong and can provide you the necessary treatment. You also need to take care of your teeth regularly and keep teeth clean always.
X-rays during Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
As a part of dental care, X-rays are very safe during pregnancy. So you do not need to worry about it. By dental X-ray, your dentist can figure out the problems happening with your teeth, bones, and gums. Usually, we know that X-ray uses radiation for performing the medical test, which can be harmful to your health, but dental x-rays are not like this. Dental x-rays are safe during pregnancy as they use a minimal amount of radiation. Your dentist will also cover you with a special apron and collar so that it will protect you and your baby from any radiation. But as a precaution, if your dentist gives you any test regarding X-ray, you must need to inform him or her that you are pregnant or you are planning to get pregnant so that your dentist will proceed accordingly.
Treatment of Dental Problems during Pregnancy:
Like we said before, you need to confirm with your dentist before taking any treatment that your dentist must know you are pregnant. Because after knowing this, your dentist will plan accordingly if you need the treatment right away, or you need to take the treatment after your delivery. The following treatments are safe during your pregnancy:
- Medicine to relieve pain and some antibiotics that can treat infections. Your dentist will advise medicine according to your condition and choose medicines that are safe for your baby’s health. And you also need to consult with your parental care before taking medications.
- Local anesthesia is also safe to reduce or prevent pain. Local anesthesia is used in specific body parts to pull your tooth or to numb your mouth for a dental filling. This is safe during pregnancy time.
If any immediate treatment is required, you can take the treatment anytime by discussing it with your dentist. But if the treatment is not urgent, you can wait till the second trimester so the procedure will not have any effect on your health and even not on your baby’s health.
How to Keep Your Teeth and Gums Healthy:
- You must brush your teeth two times daily and floss at least one time per day. You should use fluoride toothpaste and soft bristles toothbrush. If you can follow this regularly, it will remove plaque and will help you have clean and healthy teeth and gums.
- During pregnancy, vomiting is a common thing. For vomiting, you may not be able to brush teeth sometime. In this case, you need to use antacids or rinse the mouth with water and baking soda mixture. In this way, antacids will neutralize stomach acid and protect your teeth and surface of teeth.
- You need to visit your dentist regularly when you are pregnant so you will face fewer problems and can take immediate take care of any issues. Just make sure your dentist knows that you are pregnant before taking any treatment
- Be very much careful about your foods. You have to eat healthy foods, and you should avoid sweets or take less of those. You can eat fruits, vegetables, whole-grain bread, or low-fat dairy products or pasta as all of these are very healthy items. You should try to avoid sweet or dessert things and cola drinks or any other alcoholic drinks because it will cause problems to your teeth and impact on the baby’s health too. Teeth of your baby will start developing during the mid of your pregnancy time, so it is essential which foods you are taking. You need to get protein, calcium, Vitamin A, C, and D so that your baby’s teeth will grow healthy.
- Avoid smoking. Do not smoke during pregnancy time.