Here’s how you can inculcate good oral care during pregnancy

Pregnant women are susceptible to a wide range of oral health conditions that could harm their own health and that of the baby in the future.
causes of yellow teeth
Brushing your teeth right is essential. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Varsha Jain Updated: 19 Jul 2022, 15:36 pm IST
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The mouth is the gateway to the entire body, as there is a strong connection between oral and overall health. Oral care becomes even more important during pregnancy, as women can be at risk of suffering from a wide range of oral health conditions during this time that could have a potential impact on the baby in the future.
Studies show that there is a link between premature birth and gum disease. Therefore, taking proper oral care during those nine months goes a long way to help you have a healthy pregnancy, and ultimately a healthy baby. However, dental care during pregnancy is surrounded by many myths about its safety. As a result, expectant mothers usually receive less dental care than normal women.

oral care during pregnancy
Watch your oral hygiene. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Dental health during pregnancy

Pregnancy brings about many changes in your body that can affect your teeth and gums. Firstly, the change in your eating habits during pregnancy can have an effect on your dental health. Besides, increased levels of certain hormones during pregnancy like estrogen and progesterone can increase your risk for certain oral health problems. Also, pregnancy may bring with it more tiredness than usual, which might result in brushing and flossing your teeth less often than what you did before you got pregnant.

These changes brought about during pregnancy can increase the risk for certain dental problems, including cavities or tooth decay, gingivitis also called pregnancy gingivitis, or swelling of the gums, loose teeth, periodontal disease – also called periodontitis gingivitis or gum disease, pregnancy tumors, and tooth erosion.
Studies show that inflammation-causing bacteria are likely to get into the bloodstream and target the fetus, potentially leading to premature labour and low-birth-weight (PLBW) babies.

What must expectant mothers follow for good dental care?

For most expectant mothers, routine dental visits are relatively safe. Your dentist must be aware of the month of pregnancy you are in, if you have some medical condition, or whether yours is a high-risk pregnancy. All these factors play a role in the treatment, and if it needs to be postponed.

In addition, your dentist needs to be informed of any change in medication or any special advice received from your physician. Further, receiving proper dental care during pregnancy is far more beneficial and outweighs any potential risks. Moreover, do remember to keep your dental expert informed of any oral health problems such as redness, bleeding, or swelling.

Some of the ways to take care of your dental health include:

  • Thorough brushing, twice daily, with fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss daily between your teeth
  • Consume a balanced diet
  • Regular visit to a dentist for professional cleaning and check-up
  • Dentist-recommended antimicrobial mouth wash.

Remember to visit a dentist

Visiting a dentist is an integral part of all your prenatal appointments, so, do not forget to schedule an appointment with your dentist. Dental professionals play an important role to keep your oral health in check during pregnancy. That’s why make sure to let them know when you are pregnant, in order to adjust your treatment plans accordingly.

oral care during pregnancy
Good oral health is essential for more reasons than one. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Nevertheless, the second trimester is often the best time to go for any minor dental work like filling a cavity if the need arises.

Also, read: Your posture could impact your oral health. Here’s why!

While dental treatment during pregnancy is generally believed to be harmful, on the contrary, seeing your dentist for a regular dental cleaning and dental x-rays if necessary, is quite safe as the amount of radiation in a dental X-ray is extremely low and should not harm your child. Plus, expectant mothers are covered with a leaded apron to further minimize the exposure. Even if you suspect that you are pregnant, please let your dentist know before any X-ray so the necessary precautions can be taken to minimize exposure.

The last word

Pregnancy brings about big changes to your body, and also to your lifestyle. As you get busy with all the preparations to welcome the new one, do not forget to take care of your oral health. Though pregnancy is likely to bring about some challenges concerning oral care, a strong oral care routine and help from your dental professionals can go a long way in maintaining a healthy mouth and healthy pregnancy.

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About the Author

Dr Varsha Jain, Dentist, Jupiter Hospital Pune  ...Read More

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