Pregnancy and your Teeth
Swollen ankles, mood swings, stretch marks, back pain. And we’ve only just scratched the surface. That’s right, as well as a bevy of inconvenient and sometimes horrifying symptoms that you get to experience during the course of your pregnancy, you also get to deal with odd changes to your teeth and oral health.
Pregnancy can lead to dental problems in some women, such as increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease. However, being pregnant doesn’t mean your teeth are automatically in for it. With proper planning and dental hygiene, you can hopefully avoid these problems. This article will explore some of the dental risks of pregnancy and how to combat them.
Why Does Pregnancy Affect Oral Health?
There are many causes of dental health problems during pregnancy. Oftentimes, they are caused by vomiting from morning sickness or particular cravings for sugary foods. The acid from vomit can coat your teeth, stripping them of their enamel and increasing your risk of tooth decay. Sugary snacks feed the bacteria in your mouth and cause the same effect.
However, a change in hormones can make some women susceptible to gingivitis, periodontal disease, or pregnancy epulis (localised enlargement of the gum, which can bleed easily). This is due to a worse response to plaque as a result of increased hormone levels.
Dental Disease Can Affect Your Baby
There is a link between gum disease and pregnant women and premature birth with low birth rate. Prematurely born babies are at risk for health conditions like cerebral palsy and problems with hearing or eyesight. Periodontal disease is responsible for 18 percent of premature births, so it is very important to get appropriate dental treatment if you want to lower your child’s risk of health problems.
How You Can Prepare
One of the best things you can do to prevent issues with your oral health during your pregnancy is to pick up good oral hygiene habits before you even get pregnant. This includes visiting your dental hygienist regularly for check-ups and cleanings, brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day.
While you’re pregnant, you should also work on increasing your daily amounts of calcium, as this will help protect your bone mass while meeting the nutritional needs of your baby. Add some more milk, cheese, yoghurt or calcium-fortified soymilk into your diet. You should also increase the amount of Vitamin D because it helps the body utilise the calcium. You can find Vitamin D in cheese, margarine, fatty fish and eggs.
Inform Your Dentist If You Are Pregnant
It is important to inform your dentist if you are pregnant, as this doesn’t only affect your oral health, but it can affect your dental care. For example, your dentist may choose not to take x-rays until after the birth, or go to extra precautions to ensure the safety of your child.
If you are pregnant and concerned about your oral health, the team at Coburg Dental Group is sensitive to your plight and happy to help. Contact us today for more information, or book an appointment online.