Pregnancy and Dental Care: Pregnancy – The most exciting time for every mommy-in-the-making. There are so many hormonal changes going on in the body during this time and your mouth is no exception. Many of the things you may face during this phase, for instance swollen feet, food aversion, are often ticked away as being natural and an obvious consequence of being Pregnant. However, when it comes to your oral health, the problems that you may face while pregnant should not be overlooked as they could cause further issues for you or worse, your baby.
The changes in the hormone levels increase the risk of oral health issues and make you more vulnerable to gum disease.
Here's why this happens: During pregnancy, extra hormones (estrogen and progesterone) are released which cause more blood to flow to your gums. This causes them to become more sensitive to food, cold water, etc and causes irritation. This inturn causes the gums to become inflamed, swollen and eventually bleed. If left untreated, ongoing inflammation of the gums can lead to bone loss around the teeth and tooth loss. At times, it can take more serious forms of gum disease such as periodontitis, pregnancy gingivitis or pregnancy tumors.
So what's a woman to do?
Firstly, understand that any oral health problem occuring during pregnancy is preventable and reversible in its early stages. So, start paying attention to your oral health early on in your pregnancy and while you wait for your little one to arrive,
This is one of the most common dental issues associated with pregnancy, it usually occurs during the first trimester. Symptoms of pregnancy gingivitis include bleeding, swollen red and tender gums, and at times sensitivity.
Good oral health during pregnancy is important to your fetus. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to reduce the chance of irritating your gums, and a dentist recommended toothpaste to help prevent plaque, tartar build-up and gingivitis. As per certain medical studies, serious stages of gum disease or periodontitis, are strongly associated with low birth weight or a premature birth.
Don't let the name scare you! Pregnancy tumors, also known as pyogenic granulomas, are inflammatory hyperplasias seen in the oral cavity. They are not cancerous. They have a raspberry-like appearance and most often occur in the second trimester of pregnancy on the gums, or between the teeth. They can interfere with chewing and tend to bleed easily. These tumors are at times involved in causing secondary oral infections
The cause of Pregnancy Tumors?
Although the reason for Pregnancy Tumors is a combination of hormones and plaque buildup which cause the women's gum tissues to swell and inflame, irregular and poor oral hygiene can contribute to their growth as well.
Remember, we said don't let the name scare you? Well, this is not very serious, but if left untreated can harm you and your little baby. Excisional surgery is the treatment of choice for this, however, some other treatment protocols such as the use of Nd:YAG laser, cryosurgery, and other methods have been proposed and used in the past.
Also, bear in mind, the treatment largely depends on your condition. You must visit the dentist to get the tumor well diagnosed and follow the treatment prescribed.
Morning sickness. Arrggh! Most pregnant women will face this during their pregnancy months. This can cause more harm to your oral health than you can imagine. The acid from your stomach can wreak havoc on your teeth and contribute to tooth enamel erosion. The best thing you can do to protect your enamel is rinse your mouth with a teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in water. This will aid in neutralizing the acid from your stomach. You need to do this before brushing your teeth in the morning
Dental check-ups during pregnancy are normal. Don't skip your checkup simply because you are pregnant. But make sure to always tell your dentist when you are pregnant. This is because it helps them fully understand your current health and better assess your other needs. Additionally, they can also make adjustments to any treatments, or move any x-rays dates until a further date or after you give birth. Though radiation from x-rays are very low, it is advisable to postpone them if your dentist recommends you to do so.
Pregnant women are also at a high risk of developing dental cavities due to changes in eating habits. Women who develop a lot of cavity-causing bacteria during pregnancy could transmit these bacteria from their mouth to the mouth of their baby., which can lead to early childhood cavities.
Did you know – Children of mothers who have high levels of untreated cavities or tooth loss are more than 3 times more likely to have cavities as a child?
Now that you know how to protect your oral health, relax and enjoy this beautiful time of your life.
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