Dental Care Tips to Remember through Pregnancy
Unpredictable hormones, physical changes, and mood swings are just some of the things you may experience when pregnant. Pregnant women also have to prepare for the baby’s needs, including the nursery. So, it’s not surprising that many women often forget to take care of their dental health during pregnancy.
Bleeding gums (due to gingivitis) and plaque build-up are two of the most common dental problems, and this case is true for pregnant women as well. It has been proven that gum or periodontal disease cases are quite common in expectant women and can lead to premature birth. According to studies, out of 100 preterm babies, 18 may be caused by gum problems. It is situations like this that often lead to emergency dental care. It is also situations like this that demonstrate the importance of proper dental health.
Aside from gum problems, pregnant women are also vulnerable to pregnancy tumors, which are non-cancerous tissue overgrowths found on the gums. Although these growths usually disappear after birth, they can be an inconvenience, especially since they bleed. Other dental problems during pregnancy include tooth decay or cavities, loose teeth, and teeth erosion. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), untreated cavities are common in one in four women of childbearing age, and they will most likely pass the bacteria to their babies. The loosening of bones and tissues causes loose teeth due to increased levels of hormones. Teeth erosion happens when stomach acids reach the teeth.
If you or someone in your family is pregnant, following healthy dental habits is vital. Here are some tips to help you take care of your teeth through pregnancy.
Ideally, if you plan to get pregnant or think you are pregnant, you should go to your dentist as soon as possible. Aside from dental prophylaxis, the dentist can also check your gums – are they tender or puffy? Are your gums bleeding? If such problems exist, they can be taken care of before it becomes a major hindrance to enjoying your pregnancy.
After visiting the dentist, don’t forget to continue taking good care of your teeth and gums. Brush your teeth regularly, at least twice a day. If you have sensitive gums, use a soft toothbrush. Flossing daily is also helpful in the prevention of cavities.
Most pregnant women ignore their dental health because there are no visible symptoms, particularly in the first trimester. This absence of clues should not stop you from seeing your dentist. Your gums and teeth are more sensitive during pregnancy, and you’re more susceptible to dental issues when you’re expecting. In addition to seeing your dentist, you can also follow some tips to ensure healthy dental care.
1. Regularly Brush Teeth
Brush your teeth twice a day. Pay extra attention to your front and back teeth. Also, work slowly on your gums, you don’t want them to bleed. Use good quality fluoride toothpaste and soft or medium-bristle toothpaste. If you’re nauseous while brushing, change your toothpaste brand.
Brush your teeth after snacking at night, even at midnight, as not doing so can lead to cavity build-up. As mentioned earlier, flossing every day is a big help. Gargle with a fluoride mouthwash after brushing and flossing.
2. Change Your Diet
Eating healthy is good for your health and general well-being. Switch to a healthier, more balanced diet, one that’s rich in calcium. Milk is a good source of calcium, and there are several brands made particularly for pregnant women. One glass of milk a day is good for your baby’s dental health. Calcium also helps protect you from osteoporosis.
Also, minimize your intake of anything sugary and sweet, such as artificial juices and soda. Instead, drink a lot of water. Tap water is rich in fluoride, but you have to be sure that it’s potable. Other calcium sources are cheese, almonds, spinach, cottage cheese, yogurt, and other milk-based products. If you can find unsweetened yogurt, choose that over the flavored ones.
Aside from calcium-rich food, you should also include more vegetables, whole grain products, and fruits in your diet.
3. Deal with Morning Sickness Properly
Morning sickness is an inconvenient and unpleasant aspect of the pregnancy journey. After vomiting, you’ll have the urge to brush your teeth, but this will not do you any good. Vomiting early in the morning releases stomach acids that can attack and destroy enamel.
If you can’t wait to brush your teeth after morning sickness, rinse your mouth with clean water or non-acidic mouthwash. You can also gargle using a mixture of water and one teaspoon of baking soda.
4. Don’t Forget to Visit Your Dentist
Don’t wait until the last minute before setting up an appointment with your dentist. As soon as you enter your second trimester, schedule your visit right away. Besides telling them that you are pregnant, let them know if you’re taking vitamins and medications. If you can, give your dentist a list of all your medications, including the required dosage.
Most dental procedures are safe for expectant mothers, and dentists know which medications are safe for you. Some doctors are cautious when requiring an x-ray to pregnant patients, but the procedure has become safer with the advancements in technology.
Nevertheless, x-rays should only be recommended when they are absolutely necessary. If you really need to undergo the procedure, ask for a lead apron you can use for protection. Remember to ask your dentist for recommendations on how you should take care of your dental health while waiting for your due date.
After giving birth to your baby, you’re going to be busy with all the crying and feeding, late-night diaper changes, and cuddling. Nevertheless, it would help if you did not forget to continue caring for your teeth and gums. You don’t have to see your dentist right away, but you should schedule visits with your dentist at least twice a year or every six months.
Proper dental care is part of a pregnant woman’s prenatal health. The minute you find out that you are pregnant, set up an appointment with your dentist to stay on the right track with your oral health.
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