Pregnancy is a unique period during a woman’s life and it involves physiological changes which can affect oral health. At the same time, oral health is the key to health and well-being of not only the mother but also the baby.
ORAL CHANGES DURING PREGNANCY.
Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that increase the risk of developing gum disease.
1) PREGNANCY GINGIVITIS: This is nothing but a mild form of gum disease that causes the gum to become red, tender and sore. You can prevent this by keeping your teeth clean, it is advised to get frequent cleanings with a dentist to control gingivitis.
2) INCREASED RISK OF TOOTH DECAY: If you are eating more carbohydrates than usual, this may cause decay. Morning sickness can increase the amount of acid your mouth is exposed to which can eat away the outer layer of tooth (enamel).
3) PREGNANCY TUMORS: This is an overgrowth of tissue which appears on the gums, most often in second trimester. They bleed easily and have a raw – looking appearance.
TIPS FOR MAINTAINING A HEALTHY MOUTH DURING PREGNANCY.
– Brush thoroughly with a fluoride toothpaste twice daily.
– Floss between your teeth daily.
– visit your dentist regularly for a professional cleaning and checkup.
– rinsing your mouth at night with an antimicrobial mouth wash.
– vomiting due to morning sickness can be countered by rinsing with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water to stop stomach acid from damaging your teeth.
PREGNANCY AND DENTAL TREATMENTS.
Dental treatments can be done at any time during pregnancy. However the best time to do elective dental treatments during pregnancy is the second trimester. (Weeks 14 through 20). However, if there is a swelling or pain and an emergency treatment has to be done, it should be done immediately. In such cases, the following should be done.
1) Inform the dentist, that you are pregnant. So any elective dental procedures, can be postponed until after the delivery. Before visiting the dentist, ask or consult your gynecologist or obstetrician if she has any special precautions/ instructions for you.
2) Inform the dentist about any drugs you are taking including medications and vitamins prescribed by your doctor. The dentist may need to alter your dental treatment plan based on the information.
3) Dental X- rays can be done during pregnancy with certain precautions.