The best gift a woman can give to herself is to keep a fit mind and body during her pregnancy. One ignored aspect of health during pregnancy is a woman’s oral and dental health. The fluctuating hormones in pregnancy can lead to sore and bleeding gums. Coupled with poor oral hygiene this can pave the way for cavities and gum disease.
An oral infection during pregnancy can prove to be very dangerous for the baby as it can lead to birth defects and premature births. Hence, it is of paramount importance that women follow scrupulous oral hygiene during their pregnancies.
Dental Care Tips During Pregnancy
Brushing the Teeth
All pregnant women must brush their teeth twice or thrice in a day especially during their first and last trimesters when the hormones are in a maximum state of flux. Use a good fluoride toothpaste and a medium bristled brush to clean and brush the teeth.
The brushing ritual should always be followed by flossing. Dental floss helps to eradicate stuck food particles especially in between the teeth. This can prevent the formation of cavity causing bacterial plaque. Flossing is time consuming and quite inconvenient but must be followed if you want healthy teeth and gums.
The Use of a Good Mouthwash
The use of a good mouthwash is very important to eliminate bad breath and reduce the build up of plaque and tartar in the teeth. Speak to your dentist to recommend a pregnancy safe oral mouthwash for you.
Eat a Lot of Calcium
Eat a lot of calcium rich foods for healthy teeth and gums. Stock up on nutritious foods like cheese, curd which are non-acidic in nature, and help to prevent tooth corrosion and decay. These foods also make the teeth and gums strong and prevent the gums from getting sore.
Get your Dental Treatment done Beforehand
If you suspect cavities in your teeth, it is a wise decision to get your teeth examined and treated before you plan a pregnancy. Most dentists do not perform treatment in the first trimester. This is because the use of dental x-rays can be potentially harmful for the growing foetus. It is always better to get regular check ups done beforehand to ward off dental problems during pregnancy.
Get the fillings Restored
If you already have had dental work done beforehand, make sure you get your cavities checked and refilled. At times older fillings may come off without your awareness or knowledge.
The more unfilled cavities a mother has, the more are the chances of the germs being transmitted to the unborn baby from the mother’s mouth.
Do not snack on Sweet Goodies
Sugary candies, sweets, pastries and sweet beverages are a bad choice when it comes to your oral health. All these are highly acidic and are an ideal breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Not only do they cause cavities but also destroy the tooth enamel. This can increase your chances of getting carious teeth during your pregnancy.
Munch on Fruits
Have tasty, juicy and crunchy foods like apples and pears, which are infinitely better on the teeth. They help to wash and rinse the mouth and keep the teeth free from the build up of bacteria. Apples and pears are also very good for health vis-a-vis calorie laden, sugary foods.
If you have the occasional sweets and candies, make sure you gently clean and rinse your mouth. This will reduce the effect of the acidic foods on your teeth.
Drink fluids and Water
Consume plenty of water during your pregnancy. Water enhances saliva, which helps to keep mouth bacteria at bay. It also keeps your mouth clean and sweet smelling.
If you have Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting can play havoc with your oral and dental health. The acids and bile from the thrown up food can destroy the tooth enamel and leave it exposed to bacterial invasion. It can also cause foul and bad smelling breath. Brush your teeth an hour after vomiting to eliminate tooth erosion and destruction.
The build up of tartar around the gum line can cause bleeding and sore gums or a severe gum infection. The ideal solution to this problem is scaling.
You should get your teeth scaled sometime during the second trimester when it is safe to do so. Lying down in the dentist’s chair in the critical third month can prove to be very uncomfortable especially if you are due for a long session at the dentist’s office.
Use Soft Bristled Tooth Brushes
If you are prone to bleeding gums, a hard toothbrush can aggravate the problem. Instead, opt for a soft bristled tooth brush that is slow and easy on the gums. These brushes will do a better job of removing the tartar and food residue from the gums and the teeth.
Coping with Food Cravings
Unhealthy and uncontrolled cravings for sugary foods can increase your consumption of these foods. These foods are just not good for your oral health.
Instead, look for low sugar substitutes, which also provide good nutrition like dates and prunes. Make sure you always rinse your mouth after consumption of these snacks.
Increase Vitamin D Consumption
Increase your vitamin D consumption. Consumption of vitamin D is necessary as it aids and helps in the swift absorption of calcium in the body. You can get some vitamin D by soaking up in the sun and also by eating foods that are high on vitamin D.
Keep your Dentist Informed
If you are pregnant or suspect that you have conceived, tell your doctor right away. He/she will then be able to decide on the safe dental procedures and medicines to be given to you. He/she will also be able to guide you and give you good oral hygiene tips that will enable you to have a good and safe pregnancy.
With the aid of the above tips, it is not too difficult to practice and enjoy good oral hygiene. In fact it is critical for the mother’s and baby’s overall health.