DENTAL CARE IN PREGNANCY- IS IT IMPORTANT ?Dr. Hitesh Kumar
Dental health is important part of your overall health. Taking good care of your teeth and gum while pregnancy is also important. Poor oral hygiene can affect your little one also and taking good care of your dental health , can potentially make a difference for your baby, both before and after birth. Remember, a mom who cares for herself is also caring for her unborn child.
CAUSES OF DECLINING DENTAL HEALTH DURING PREGNANCY ;
- In pregnancy your body gets exhausted easily at the end of day, so missing or skipping your night time brushing on regular basis can lead to plaque accumulation on your teeth which ultimately leads to cavities .
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause swollen gums which leads to gingivitis- gums that bleed easily because of being inflamed. Untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis- more severe form of gum disease. This can results in preterm delivery and low birth weight babies.
- Morning sickness also plays an important role on dental health. Stomach acid makes its ways to mouth and can weaken the tooth enamel which further leads to cavities.
- Frequent snacking in pregnancy puts teeth in constant contact with acid in food which leads to increased production of acid loving bacteria streptococcus mutans which produces acid and weaken tooth enamel.
- In some women , overgrowth of tissue called “pregnancy tumour” appears on the gums mostly on second trimester. It is just a swelling between teeth due to excess accumulation of plaque. They bleed easily and have red ,raw looking raspberry like appearance. They disappear after the baby is arrive.
HOW A MOM’S ORAL HEALTH CAN AFFECT AN UNBORN CHILD
- When a pregnant women has excessive bacteria growth in her mouth, it can enter the blood stream through her gums and travel to the uterus- triggering the production of prostaglandin hormone- which are suspected to induce premature labour.
- After baby is born, mother can potentially pass on her bacteria to her child so a mother who has lots of acid loving bacteria in her mouth will pass these bacteria to her newborn in higher amounts.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF DENTAL PROBLEMS DURING PREGNANCY
- Bad breathe
- Loose teeth
- Mouth sores or lumps in the gums
- Red , swollen and bleeding gums
- Toothache or swelling related to the tooth
ORAL & DENTAL CARE
At each point of time dental care is necessary even though you are pregnant or not….
Dental care before you get pregnant :
- Try to make a dental appointment before getting pregnant or if you are planning to get pregnant get your dental check up done. By that way your teeth get cleaned, gums can be examined and any oral health problem can be treated in advance of your pregnancy
Dental care while you are pregnant :
- Tell your dentist that you are pregnant
- Routine dental care can be done anytime during pregnancy and even urgent procedures can be done as well.
- Tell your dentist about the drugs and dosage you are taking including medications and prenatal vitamins because your dentist may need to alter their treatment plan according to your medication and any important information prescribed by your obstetrician.
- If your dentist require an X-ray then don’t hesitate because X-rays are much safer now a days than past decades. Even then your dentist will use extreme caution to safeguard you and your baby such as by using lead apron so that no exposure can affect your baby.
- Don’t skip your dental check up appointments simply because you are pregnant.
- If morning sickness is keeping you away from brushing your teeth, change to a bland tasting toothpaste, tell your dentist to recommend you some brands.
- Avoid sugary snacks even though you are pregnant and you have cravings for the same.
- Eat healthy balanced diet .your baby’s first teeth begin to develop about three months of pregnancy. Healthy diet like dairy products, cheese and yogurt are good source of minerals and good for baby’s developing teeth and gums.
After you’ve had your baby
- If you experienced any gum problem during your pregnancy , see your dentist after delivery to have your entire mouth examined and evaluated. And get your treatment done nd become less infectious to your child.
HYGIENE PRACTICE TO IMPROVE ORAL HEALTH IN PREGNANCY
- Brush at least twice daily
- Brush with soft toothbrush to lessen gum irritation
- Floss at least once daily
- Use warm salt water rinses to soothe tender gums
- Swish with fluoridated but without alcohol mouthwash after vomiting to protect teeth
- Consider chewing xylitol – containing gums 3 to 4 times daily
Online resources regarding dental care during pregnancy are available from several organizations and can help pregnant women learn more about protecting oral health
Women should be encouraged to consult dentist before and during pregnancy
Routine professional dental care will have limited affect unless it is accompanied by changes in personal oral hygiene
Reference by : [Megan k. Kloetzel, Colleen E. Huebner , Peter Milgrom (Referrals for dental care during pregnancy ) Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health ] and healthychildren.org from American Academy Of Pediatrics and www.mouthhealthy.org from American Dental Association