Pregnancy and the journey towards motherhood are riddled with highs and lows of various kinds, most of them with temporary effects. One of these temporary troubles is dental problems in any of the trimesters. Pregnancy and oral health is a topic that is often subject to myths and sometimes even neglected in general talks about healthy pregnancy. As opposed to the widespread rumours, pregnancy does not automatically result in teeth damage. There is no immediate loss of teeth or any other serious problems.
Teeth problems during pregnancy mainly originate from the hormonal shifts and surges in pregnancy. When your body nurtures a new life, the nutrient needs of that fetus are also fulfilled by your own body, something that can cause troubles for you without balanced and fulfilling diets. While insufficient calcium in the diet of a pregnant woman causes the body to derive the needed nutrients from her bones, calcium deficiency has no known adverse effect or causes dental problems during pregnancy.
To better understand the need for dental care during pregnancy, this blog is divided into important sub-categories covering healthy dental pre-pregnancy to post-pregnancy.
Pre-Pregnancy Dental Hygiene
A dentist will ask you to have good dental hygiene and take care of your oral health at all stages of life. If you do follow good oral health practices every day, it is more likely that you will have fewer teeth problems during pregnancy. Here are some suggestions for you to ensure proper care of your teeth:
- Use fluoridated toothpaste to brush your teeth twice a day.
- Use floss between your teeth.
- Have regular check-ups with your dentist.
Inform your dentist if you are planning to get pregnant or are already pregnant. This way, any complex dental procedures can be done or timed accordingly without causing extra problems. While simple procedures are preferred to be done in the first trimester, bigger elective treatments are either done before conception or after giving birth.
Pregnancy and Oral Health
The first thing to do is to tell your dentist that you are pregnant. This will bring some necessary changes in your dental check-up routines like no more x-rays, postponing complex dental procedure and avoidance of treatments that require general anaesthesia. Your dentist may also consult with your gynaecologist to find out what types of treatments and drugs are safe for you.
There are a number of symptoms of pregnancy that can trigger or be a cause of dental problems during pregnancy, here are a few of them:
Morning sickness and excessive vomiting in pregnancyThe vomit from your morning sickness often coats your teeth with acidic remains from your stomach fluids. This can damage tooth enamel and cause decay to the teeth. If you brush immediately after vomiting, the harsh bristles of your toothbrush might chip off the enamel. Instead, rinse your mouth with tap water and then with a fluoridated mouthwash.
Cravings for sugary food and other unusual combinations of foodWhile strange food cravings in pregnancy are normal, they are also a leading cause for bad teeth after pregnancy. Try to snack on low-sugar foods instead of giving in to your cravings for extremely sugary foods. Add healthier food options in your diet and snack on fresh fruits instead of unhealthy junk food.
Retching while brushing your teethYour stomach and internal systems are already very sensitive during pregnancy and sometimes brushing inner molars and other deeper parts of the mouth can cause retching. To tackle this problem, try using a brush with a smaller head, brushing your teeth slowly while closing your eyes or even switch the brand or flavour of your toothpaste.
Gum problems due to nutrient deficiencies also known as GingivitisPregnancy gingivitis and other gum problems during these times are commonly caused by changing hormones in your body. During the second trimester of pregnancy, many women experience swelling and bleeding in the gums. These symptoms may worsen if you have already been suffering from a gum infection or disease since before pregnancy. Tell your dentist if you witness these early signs of dental problems in pregnancy and switch to a softer toothbrush along with going to your regular check-ups.
Other than the points mentioned above, you should increase your calcium and vitamin-D intake during pregnancy to make sure that you don’t have bad teeth after pregnancy. Try including more of milk, cheese, unsweetened yoghurt and even fortified soy-milk in your regular diet for more calcium. Similarly, get your vitamin-D from salmon, eggs or other sources in your food chart.
Post-Pregnancy Dental Hygiene
The teeth problems during pregnancy do not vanish overnight after the birth of your child. In fact, they may require some time and additional treatment to get rid off. To make sure that you do not suffer from bad teeth after pregnancy, continue your healthy pregnancy and oral health practices. While you may no longer require a softer toothbrush or a particular toothpaste, it is still vitally important good dental hygiene in daily life. The right dental care during pregnancy can make this experience leading up to motherhood less troublesome and more enjoyable.