Dental health is an indicator of your overall health of gums and teeth. It’s not only an important part of your general health but also a part of your personality too.
Some research studies show a connection between gum disease and premature birth (birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy) and below birth weight (less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces). It shows taking good care of your gums and teeth during pregnancy can help you and your baby be healthy.
How pregnancy can affect your dental health?
During pregnancy, blood flow will increase in your body. Hormone changes also take place in the body. These variations mean that you’re more likely to have some dental health problems during pregnancy than you did before you got pregnant. These problems include:
The sign of the gingivitis is the swollen or sore gums. The gums may bleed while brushing or flossing. High levels of the hormone progesterone can motivate gingivitis during pregnancy. Without treatment, at the right time, gingivitis can become a serious gum disease called periodontitis.
Dr. Priyanka Shingore dental director of Sabka dentist says “Pregnancy is the sensitive time for mother and baby. Hence she recommends being proactive about dental health”.
Increased levels of the hormones progesterone and estrogen during pregnancy can affect the tissues and bones that keep your teeth in place. This can make your teeth suffer from losses from the socket.
This is the serious level of gum disease. It happens when the infection spreads in the gums and bones that keep your teeth in place. This can make your teeth lose and eventually may fall out.
Dr. Manan Dhulia dental director of Sabka dentist says “Periodontitis is the result of an ignored gingivitis, and it can lead to tooth loss if left untreated”.
These tumors are not cancer. They are lumps that form on swollen gums, normally in between teeth. This can make bleeding in the gums. The tumors may be formed because of too much plaque (sticky bacteria that forms on teeth). Pregnancy tumors normally go away on their own. In a few cases, you may need to have them removed by surgery sometime after you give birth.
This is when acids in your mouth start to wear down a tooth’s enamel. Enamel is the outer hard layer of a tooth. Because you have more acid in your mouth than usual during pregnancy, you’re more prone to have tooth decay. If you have morning sickness you have even more acid in your mouth.
Dr. Rupali Gujar Dental Director of Sabka dentist says “Decay is the most common problem, But it needs extra attention during pregnancy as Infection in the decay can harm the baby”.
It happens because serious tooth decay or gum disease, your teeth may fall out Or your dentist may need to pull out your teeth.
What are the signs and symptoms of dental health problems during pregnancy?
Gums that hurt when they’re touched, or gums that bleed while brushing your teeth
Loose teeth from the socket
Mouth sores, lumps or other growths
Red or red-purple gums
Shiny, sore or swollen gums
Toothache or other pain
Call your dentist if you have any of these signs or symptoms.
How are dental health problems diagnosed during pregnancy?
You may experience a problem with your teeth or gums, or your dentist may find the signs during a regular dental checkup.
Get regular dental checkups before and during pregnancy.
If you haven’t been checked by the dentist recently, good to see your dentist early in pregnancy. At your checkup, tell your dentist about your pregnancy and about any prescription. If you’re not pregnant yet, tell your dentist you’re planning for pregnancy.
Dental checkups during pregnancy are essential so that your dentist can find and treat dental difficulties. Regular teeth cleanings help to prevent tooth decay. If you have any serious problems, your dentist can recommend treatment during pregnancy or may postpone after delivery.
Your dentist may take an X-ray to see the in-depth picture. An X-ray is a medical test that uses radiation to take a picture of your body on film. Dental X-rays can show problems, like dental caries, signs of plaque under your gums or bone loss in your mouth. Dental X-rays use very small amounts of radiation. But make sure your provider knows you’re pregnant and protects you with a lead apron and collar that wraps around your neck. This helps keep your body and your baby safe.
How are oral health problems treated during pregnancy?
The treatment you get depends on the problem that you have, and how far along you are in your pregnancy.
You may just need a really good tooth cleaning from your dentist. Or you may need surgery in your mouth. Your dentist can safely treat many problems even during pregnancy. Sometimes he may tell you it’s better to wait until after birth for some treatments.
Your dentist may recommend avoiding treatment of some problems in the first three months of pregnancy because this is an important time in your baby’s growth and development. Your dentist also may suggest postponing some dental treatments if you’ve had a miscarriage in the past, or if you’re at higher risk of miscarriage than other women. (Miscarriage is when a baby dies in the womb before 20 weeks of pregnancy).
How can you help prevent dental health problems?
Here’s some tip that you can help to keep your teeth and gums healthy:
Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss every day. Brush using a toothbrush with soft bristles and a pea amount of toothpaste. Floss once a day to clean in between your teeth. Regular brushing and flossing around teeth and the gum line can remove plaque and prevent periodontitis and tooth decay.
Use Mouthwash If morning sickness makes you feel too sick and dull to brush your teeth, at least rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash. If you get vomit, rinse your mouth with water to wash away the acid.
See your dentist every 6 months even during pregnancy Eat healthy foods. They give nutrients to you and your growing baby. Your baby’s teeth start growing between 3 and 6 months of pregnancy. Nutrients, such as calcium, protein and vitamins A, C and D, help your baby’s teeth grow healthy.
Reduce sweets intake Having too many sweet foods or drinks can lead to tooth decay. Instead of sweets, drink water and pick healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and dairy products.
Dr. Reena is a graduate of Maharashtra University of Health Sciences with a Bachelor in Dental Surgery. Dr. Reena Waghela is a leading dental surgeon having over twelve years of experience, with a special focus on advanced dental care. She is trained in Implant Dentistry, Aesthetics, and Full Mouth Rehabilitation. She picked up the finer nuances of Dental Practice Management while assisting leading dental surgeons during her time in the USA.