Women who take care of their oral health during pregnancy are less likely to give birth early or deliver a baby of low weight, according to the Financial Express. Up to 75% of pregnant women experience dental issues during pregnancy, with gingivitis being the most common complaint. As your baby’s health can rely on your dental hygiene, it’s crucial you do all you can to practice the act of keeping your teeth healthy during pregnancy. Here’s what you should do.
Know the risks
Pregnancy is an exciting time that causes lots of changes in your body. Your hormone levels will increase and these directly affect your teeth and gums. For example, your gums may become sensitive and bleed easily and your teeth may loosen. 70% of pregnant women experience morning sickness. Repetitive vomiting exposes the teeth to excess stomach acid which can damage the enamel that coats and protects the teeth.
Signs to look out for
As mentioned, the most common dental problem you’re likely to face during pregnancy is gingivitis. Signs of gingivitis include:
- Bleeding gums
- Red, swollen, or puffy gums
- Bad breath
- Unpleasant taste in your mouth
- Receding gums
Dental caries, or tooth decay as it is otherwise known, is often seen in pregnancy too. Sugary cravings can be the cause of dental caries, as can poor dental hygiene. Three-quarters of pregnant women say they have problems brushing their teeth due to their gag reflex. Research has found that women with tooth decay are more likely to give birth prematurely (before 37 weeks). Their babies are at greater risk of having a low birth weight (under 2.5 kg), so it’s important to take decay seriously. Signs of tooth decay include:
If you experience any unpleasant symptoms in your mouth or are in pain, it’s important that you contact an emergency dental hospital. You’ll find these across the world, including in Mississauga, Canada, Austin, Texas, and London, UK. They’ll discuss your symptoms with you, assess your mouth, and give the appropriate baby-safe urgent treatment.
Surveys have found that 43% of pregnant women avoid visiting the dentist. Many women think that dental appointments are risky during pregnancy, but this isn’t the case. Make sure you tell the dentist that you’re pregnant and they’ll likely skip any x-rays, meaning there’s no potential harm to your baby. You should see the dentist every six months, so you should have at least one visit during your pregnancy. A dentist will be able to see if there are any problems in your mouth, such as gingivitis or tooth decay, and will give you treatment to stop the condition from getting worse.
At-home oral health tips
The best thing you can do is take steps to prevent oral health problems during your pregnancy. Obvious things like brushing your teeth twice a day are essential. Make sure you use toothpaste with fluoride in it as this will protect your teeth from tooth decay. When sickness and gagging are problems, use a child’s toothbrush as the head is smaller and softer and could stop you from gagging. If you crave sweet foods during your pregnancy, eat fresh fruit rather than chocolate, cake, and candy. Include calcium-rich foods in your diet too. Foods such as milk, cheese, and yogurt strengthen the enamel on your teeth. Plus, it’s good for your unborn baby’s bones and teeth.
Keeping your teeth healthy during your pregnancy should be one of your biggest priorities. Good oral hygiene and healthy gums and teeth are linked to better birth outcomes. And, remember to regularly visit the dentist during and after your pregnancy.