Pregnant Dental Patient
The nine months of pregnancy are no less than a roller coaster ride. During this period, the female body goes through a lot of changes - some physical, some psychological. While changes in your weight, hair, skin, and mood are well-known, many people don’t know that changes occur inside the mouth too.
How Is Your Oral Health Affected During Pregnancy?
Many research papers have suggested that teeth and gum problems negatively affect the baby. Yet, only 22 to 35 percent of women in the United States include ‘consult a dentist’ in their pre-pregnancy or prenatal care plan. The hormonal changes during the gestation period and vomiting expose your teeth to increased amounts of stomach acid. This acid can harm the enamel (the hard surface) of the teeth. A chipped enamel leads to cavities, which in turn leads to gingivitis. Gingivitis is a gum disease, and in extreme cases, this disease can induce premature birth of the baby. Thus, having a healthy mouth is extremely important for having a healthy baby. High levels of the hormones progesterone and estrogen during pregnancy can even temporarily loosen the tissues and bones that hold the teeth in place. This can loosen your teeth. But don’t be alarmed. With proper dental care, your teeth will be back to normal immediately after you give birth to the baby.
Dental Care Tips For Pregnancy
- Change your toothbrush
Pregnant women find that their gums are tender, swollen, and more sensitive than usual. And brushing and flossing during this time often result in bleeding. But this in no way should discourage you from cleaning your teeth and gums. Just use a toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles, such as the ones made for toddlers.
- Change your toothpaste
If the sharp smell and taste of your toothpaste make you feel sick, go for a non-mint or a bland-tasting toothpaste. Although the urge to skip brushing altogether for a while might be tempting, do not give in. The increased acid in your mouth attracts more bacteria and plaque during pregnancy and brushing is an absolute necessity.
- Replace mouthwash with salt water
Just like the toothpaste, if the strong taste of the mouthwash is unbearable, switch to a salt rinse. Just mix half a teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water and gargle. However, do get back to your fluoride-based mouthwash whenever you can. Avoid mouthwashes with alcohol in them.
- Take your time and maybe listen to music
Many expectant mothers struggle with a heightened gag reflex. Brushing teeth, especially the molars in the back can cause gagging. So it might be helpful to take your time and go slow, and sometimes distract yourself from the action by listening to music or counting the tiles on your bathroom floor.
- Try to control your sugar cravings
It is common to crave sugary, hard, chewy food while you are expecting. But while you indulge yourself, do not forget how important a right diet is for a healthy baby. Maybe try indulging those sugar cravings with sweet fruits and milkshakes rather than candies and caramelized nuts.
- Visit a Dentist
Many times, a deep red lump forms on inflamed gum tissue during pregnancy. Called pregnancy tumor, this lump may bleed, crust over and cause discomfort. Although this tumor is not cancerous, you should always take expert advice on how to deal with it.
Include a visit to the dentist in your prenatal care and get an update on the condition of your teeth and gums. Inform them that you are expecting and all the medicines/vitamins you are taking. The visit can help you avoid any dental emergency and make sure that you can welcome your baby with a big, healthy smile. If you have any more questions, the team at Kingman Family Dentistry will be happy to help you. Book an appointment now.