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Planning A Baby: Taking Care of Your Oral Health During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a special time in a mother’s life when she experiences the joy of bringing a new life into the world. However, during this time, it’s essential to take care of her oral health as well. Neglecting oral hygiene can put the mother and her baby’s health at risk. This article discusses the importance of maintaining good oral health during pregnancy, tips to follow, and common oral health problems that pregnant women may face.
Pregnancy and Oral Health
During pregnancy, hormonal changes can increase the risk of oral health problems. For instance, pregnancy gingivitis is a common condition that affects many women. It’s an inflammation of the gums that can cause swelling and tenderness. If left untreated, it can lead to more severe forms of gum disease. Other oral health problems that pregnant women may face include tooth mobility, acid erosion of teeth, and excessive secretion of saliva.
Tips for Maintaining Good Oral Health During Pregnancy
1. Brush and Floss Regularly: Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss daily to remove food particles and plaque from between your teeth.
2. Visit Your Dentist Regularly: Routine dental visits are safe during pregnancy, but let your dental office know what month you are in when you make your appointment. If yours is a high-risk pregnancy or you have some other medical condition, your dentist and your physician may recommend that the treatment be postponed.
3. Eat a Balanced Diet: A balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole-grain products, dairy products, and protein is essential for the mother and her baby’s health.
4. Avoid Sugary Foods and Drinks: Sugary foods and drinks can increase the risk of tooth decay. Instead, choose healthy snacks such as fruits, vegetables, and unsweetened yogurt.
5. Rinse Your Mouth After Vomiting: If you experience morning sickness and vomit frequently, rinse your mouth with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water. Avoid brushing your teeth directly after vomiting as stomach acids can erode tooth enamel.
6. Remain Stress-Free: Stress can affect your oral health. Therefore, try to remain happy, peaceful, and content during pregnancy.
7. Get Sufficient Nutrients: A sufficient quantity of nutrients, especially vitamins A, B, C, and D, protein, calcium, and phosphorus, are needed during pregnancy. Deficiency of these nutrients can affect tooth development in various ways.
8. Avoid Smoking, Drinking, and Drugs: These substances can have adverse effects on the mother and her baby’s health.
Common Oral Health Problems During Pregnancy
1. Pregnancy Gingivitis: Hormonal changes can cause pregnancy gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums that can cause swelling and tenderness. Regular dental checkups and cleanings can help prevent this condition.
2. Medications: Some drugs can be used during and after dental treatment to make you more comfortable. Inform your dentist of any prescription or over-the-counter drugs you are taking.
3. X-Rays: It’s possible you’ll need an X-ray if you suffer a dental emergency or need a dental problem diagnosed. Although radiation from dental X-rays is extremely low, your dentist or hygienist will cover you with a leaded apron that minimizes exposure to the abdomen.
4. Pregnancy Tumors: In some women, overgrowths of tissue called “pregnancy tumors” appear on the gums, most often during the second trimester. These non-cancerous growths or swellings are usually found between the teeth and are believed to be related to excess plaque.
Maintaining good oral health during pregnancy is crucial for the mother and her baby’s health. It’s essential to inform your dentist about any changes in your medical history, medications, or mouth and follow the tips discussed in this article to ensure healthy teeth and gums. Regular dental checkups and cleanings can help prevent oral health problems and ensure a healthy pregnancy.