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No doubt, pregnancy comes with a lot of responsibility and watchfulness.
Besides the common issues such as alcohol abstention and regular antenatal exercises, not many people consider oral hygiene. Did you know poor teeth care can affect your unborn child?
This article isn’t aimed at scaring you, but mainly to keep you informed about having a healthier pregnancy. The more you know, the healthier you and your child will be.
According to Dental Experts from Wood Borough House, changes in hormone levels, as a result of pregnancy, can increase the risk of oral health problems. “There are gum diseases, and commonly, small rounded raised parts of the gums referred to as pregnancy tumours”. Don’t worry, this is not malignant and can be corrected by a quick visit to your dentist.
The following should keep you wary of your oral hygiene during pregnancy.
Plaque is formed from food substances that accumulate on the teeth. Improper teeth care can lead to the build-up of plaque. If it isn’t removed, it can result in gingivitis- a red swelling condition that leaves gums feeling puffy.
Pregnancy gingivitis, as it is called, affects many expectant mothers to some extent, and becomes more obvious in the second month. The condition worsens during pregnancy, if you already had gingivitis. If left untreated, it could escalate to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease.
Pregnant women often experience non-cancerous growths or swollen gums when they (gums) are irritated. Normally, these ‘pregnancy tumours’ are left alone and shrink after pregnancy, but when they become uncomfortable and interfere with other activities such as chewing or brushing, a dentist can remove it.
Gingivitis is easily avoidable by maintaining a good oral hygiene. Keep your teeth clean, especially around the gumline. Ensure you brush with fluoride toothpaste at least two times every day, and after each meal if possible. You should also floss carefully; beware of hurting your gums.
Some women experience morning sickness when they brush. If this happens, gargle your mouth with anti-plaque and fluoride mouthwash solutions. Eat a good balanced diet rich in vitamin C and B12. They help maintain a healthy oral cavity.
Having a dentist frequently clean your teeth will help control plaque and avoid gingivitis. Plaque control will also reduce gum irritation and reduce chances of having pregnancy tumours.
There are studies that have linked preterm, low-birthweight in babies and gingivitis. If your gum is infected by bacteria, excessive amounts may enter the blood stream and swim to other parts of the body including the unborn foetus.
When this happens, it can trigger the secretion of chemicals known as prostaglandins. They are suspected to cause premature labour in pregnant women. To avoid infecting your child during pregnancy, endeavour to care for your teeth and practice a good oral hygiene. See a dentist immediately you observe any issues with your teeth or gums.
If you are planning towards becoming pregnant or you suspect you are, do see a dentist straightaway. Conversely, you can organise a check-up for cleaning in your first trimester. The dentist will assess your condition and set up a dental plan for the rest of your pregnancy.
It is also advisable to see a dentist again during your second trimester for cleaning, monitoring changes and assessing the effectiveness of your oral hygiene. Depending on the patient or condition, another appointment may be set for the third trimester. But the appointments should be quick as possible.
With a well-maintained oral hygiene, you will have a hassle-free pregnancy and a healthy baby.