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Tips from a Family Dentist on Caring for Your Teeth During Pregnancy
A family dentist watches over the oral health of every member of your family. They are there for babies when their teeth start to grow. A family dentist makes sure that the teeth of children remain healthy through growth spurts, braces and even the odd mishap. The dentist will also meet the oral health needs of adults, including the elderly and mothers-to-be.
A family dentist explains how pregnancy affects oral health
Pregnancy comes with a host of hormonal changes, which manifest as cravings, mood changes as well as physical changes. As hormones change the body to accommodate the baby, they can also cause changes in the mouth. Here is how:
- Pregnancy hormones may change how the body responds to plaque-causing gingivitis, which presents as tender gums that bleed easily
- The hormones can also cause pregnancy tumors: little bumps that develop on the surface of the gums
- Women who experience morning sickness risk an erosion of enamel when the teeth get exposed to the acid contained in vomit
- Women who experience constant acid reflux during pregnancy also risk the erosion of tooth enamel by stomach acid
- Sugar cravings can increase the risk of cavities and other types of dental infection
There is a two-way relationship between oral health and pregnancy. Meaning that if pregnancy affects oral health, then a mother’s oral health can affect their pregnancy.
How a woman’s oral health affects her pregnancy
To a large extent, the outcome of a pregnancy depends on the mother’s physical health. It also depends on her oral health. A 2010 study published in the journal of natural sciences found a link between periodontal disease, preterm births and low birth weights.
Since periodontal disease is at its core an infection, it has the ability to spread. When this happens, the infection can affect the respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine and reproductive systems. The infection can also target the baby. To ensure an easier pregnancy, a mother can take steps to ensure her oral health and the health of her body. Here is how:
Maintaining oral health during pregnancy
There is little difference between how a woman takes care of her mouth before and during pregnancy. They should brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once. The mother should also maintain a healthy diet that is low in sugar and acid. To ensure a healthy pregnancy, the mother-to-be only needs to take a few extra measures:
- Monitor the gums for swelling, bumps or bleeding. If they find any of these signs, they should seek the help of a family dentist
- In case of morning sickness, neutralize the effects of the acid in vomit by rinsing the mouth with bicarbonate soda
- In the case of acid reflux, find an antacid medication or home remedy. Also, rinse the mouth out with bicarbonate soda or any healthy treatment that can counter the effects of the acid
- Make regular dental appointments through the course of the pregnancy
- A woman who plans to have a baby should get all pending dental procedures out of the way before they get pregnant
- Avoid smoking and alcohol
Maintaining good oral health during pregnancy does not require a drastic change in behavior. Aspects like a healthy diet and the avoidance of alcohol and tobacco come with the pregnancy territory anyway.
Make oral health a part of self-care during your pregnancy
As you prepare to bring life into the world, you need to take good care of yourself, because you deserve it. Call us to make an appointment with our family dentist, who will be thrilled to monitor and ensure your oral health all through your pregnancy.
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