Oral Care During Pregnancy – What You Should Know? It is not uncommon for the mother-to-be to have oral health problems. The extra hormones in the body during pregnancy can make pregnant women more susceptible to gum disease. This means keeping plaque bacteria under control is even more important. “During pregnancy, several changes occur in the female body that can lead to the onset or worsen of dental problems,” says Dr. Rozelle Owens. “The change of hormones in pregnancy affects the immune system, making the gums more sensitive to the plaque bacteria that cause gum disease. One of the most common symptoms of this disease is intense and spontaneous bleeding during brushing,” adds Dr. Owens. If not addressed it can become advanced gum disease which can lead to tooth loss.
According to dentists, pregnant women must be advised about the importance of brushing their teeth twice a day and on reducing the consumption of sweets. In some cases, the taste of toothpaste can cause nausea, leading pregnant women to neglect oral care during pregnancy. A solution could be using differently flavoured toothpaste or just brushing with water; this is better than not brushing at all. Using interdental brushes or dental floss is also very important.
Dr Rozelle Owens recommends that if you are thinking about getting pregnant or are already expecting it’s a good idea to have your oral health assessment and scale and polish at least twice during the pregnancy since the latest research has discovered links between gum disease and low birth weight and premature birth.
It’s not just women that need to get assessed – Gum disease has been linked to low fertility in men; a man is 8 times more likely to have erectile dysfunction if he has gum disease.
Vomiting – Common in the first quarter, vomiting makes your mouth more acidic, which can harm tooth enamel. Dr. Owens points out that after vomiting, it is best to rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash. Do not brush your teeth after vomiting for at least 30 minutes. The acid makes the enamel soft so brushing straight after can also damage your teeth.
Oral care during pregnancy – Routine dental treatment such as fillings are perfectly safe during normal pregnancy. It is more dangerous to be in pain as this causes stress to the mother and therefore the baby. In Ireland, we do not give dental x-rays to pregnant women, but if you need a root canal filling, don’t worry: the 1st part can be done safely which will make you pain-free. The treatment can be finished once your baby is born.
If you’re pregnant it’s best to give your dentist a visit as these problems are very manageable when addressed early.
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