As I sat in the dentists chair, my gums were tender, bleeding, and inflamed. I could tell the hygienist wanted to ask me the big P question; but was hesitant.
"I'm four months pregnant!" I told her.
This was the explanation she needed that explained my swollen gums, signs of gingivitis and bleeding during everyone's favorite stage - flossing. She was relieved to find a simple explanation to what many pregnant women experience during a routine check up to the dentist. In my case, due to hormonal changes, and my pregnancy, I was more prone to plaque buildup, inflammation the the gums, and overall less than optimal dental health. I wanted to smile, to be proud of my oral hygiene, but pregnancy was taking a toll on my dental health.
Dental health is a balancing act for women who are pregnant. Many providers do not address the changes that may take place, and certainly any long term effects are undesirable. Not only are pregnant women more susceptible to a variety of oral health problems, but some of those issues (and their treatment) may put their developing baby at risk. An educational guide on dental care for pregnant women and babies was recently published by Byte. These key takeaways are reassuring that there are answers and solutions if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or in the postpartum period.
The highlights from their feature article include:
WHY DENTAL CHANGES OCCUR IN PREGNANCY
Hormones! It's always about the hormones during pregnancy. And these hormones even affect your teeth. Gums can be more sensitive and inflamed during pregnancy. Growths or gingivitis can begin to develop; but luckily for most, these symptoms will dissipate over time. Personally, even just two months after my little one was born, my teeth did not seem to have the sensitivity, or bleeding while flossing like they had during pregnancy.
Morning Sickness, or evening sickness or just the all the time sickness during far too many trimesters can lead to an acidic environment in your mouth, especially if your nausea is accompanied by vomiting. Be especially careful not to brush immediately after throwing up. My dentist recommended swishing with milk instead of reaching for your toothbrush immediately. After about 30 minutes, then brushing your teeth is recommended.
Nutrition during pregnancy is always an obstacle. Calcium is needed to maintain your health, and develop the skeletal system of your baby. It is unlikely you are able to take in enough calcium without a supplement. Take care of your bones and teeth by taking a calcium supplement.
When it comes to dental procedures, X-rays are safe. If your dentist permits, you could limit radiation by taking a pass on X-rays during your visit. Major dental work is permitted and recommended during the second trimester.
ORAL HEALTH ISSUES THAT PREGNANCY MAY CAUSE
Tooth decay, gum disease, pyogenic granuloma are a few of the oral health issues you may face during pregnancy. To prevent this issues see here.
DENTAL CARE FOR YOUR NEWBORN
You can wipe the gums of your baby, the same way you would brush their teeth, and when teeth start arriving, it's appropriate to visit the dentist. Avoiding milk or juice in a nightly bottle can prevent oral problems.
Dental hygiene may seem like just another burden during pregnancy; but by becoming aware of the risks, and action steps to take to prevent problems, you and your baby will have a beautiful byte! To highlight the key takeaways for general oral hygiene:
- Continue to brush twice a day for at least two minutes each time and floss daily.
- Eat a healthy diet. Make sure you and your baby get all of the nutrients you need while avoiding foods with added sugars.
- Sip water often to hydrate your mouth, wash away food particles, and deliver small doses of fluoride to your teeth.
- If you have morning sickness, rinse your mouth with water immediately, then wait 30 minutes. Once this time is up, brush your teeth to make sure you’ve gotten rid of all the acid in your mouth.
- Consider taking a calcium supplement to ensure you have enough calcium in your body for both you and your child.
With dental resources at your fingertips, you'll now be able to confidently smile, because you never know when you'll be on candid camera.
Hi! I'm Sarah, and I want to share with you everything I have learned in journey's of my pregnancies. Motherhood is challenging, and there are not a lot of birth coaches out there to support you in your delivery. Made Mindful wants to support you in both! Visit our website today.