Oral Health During Pregnancy: What You Should Know
During pregnancy, it’s very important to take care of your oral health. This is because there are many organic changes that may affect the oral cavity. In fact, these changes may lead to tooth decay and gum problems.
This is why it’s so important to look after your oral health. To do so, your obstetrician should advise you to go to the dentist.
When mothers have poor oral health, their children tend to have many cavities. So, in order to take good care of your oral health, it’s important to have proper oral hygiene and to follow a balanced diet.
In Spain, for example, only around 12% of pregnant women go to the dentist. This is mostly because of lack of health education, and because people tend to think that it might harm the fetus.
Oral health during pregnancy: cavities
A well-known myth is that babies get calcium from their mother’s teeth, and that’s what causes dental problems in pregnant women. However, babies get calcium from their mother’s diet. Another common myth is that women gain a child and lose a tooth.
The increased number of cavities during pregnancy is related to bad hygiene, which leads to bacterial plaque accumulation. As a result, this attacks the enamel and produces cavities. Even if you don’t notice a change in your oral hygiene, the fact that you eat more times a day and more sweets means you may need to change your hygiene routine.
Sometimes, vomiting may relate to the formation of cavities. After vomiting, you should wash your mouth with water and then brush your teeth.
Gingivitis is a gum disease that causes irritation, redness and swelling. In addition, it may cause pain and bleeding. Hormonal changes during pregnancy may lead to gum irritation. These changes tend to appear during the second trimester and improve after labor.
If you already had this problem before getting pregnant, it would probably aggravate afterwards. During pregnancy, a lesion with the shape of a nodule may appear in the gum. This granuloma may bleed easily, and it usually disappears after labor.
Treatment and prevention of oral health during pregnancy
During pregnancy, the most important thing is prevention, through practicing good hygiene and proper diet. With correct hygiene, you’ll avoid high levels of cariogenic bacteria, such as S. mutans and S. sobrinus.
It’s possible to receive dental treatment during pregnancy. However, during the first trimester, professionals only recommend receiving treatments that are absolutely necessary.
The second trimester is the best time to receive any kind of dental treatments, because there’s no problem in using local anesthesia. You can also get dental x-rays, as long as the abdomen is protected and there’s a small amount of radiation involved.
During the last trimester, pregnant women shouldn’t receive dental treatments. This is because it can be quite annoying to sit on the dentist chair for too long. It may also cause vena cava compression, which can lead to low blood pressure. Beyond this, there’s no other problem.
Moreover, the use of nitrous oxide should be carried out under vigilance and using reduced amounts of it. Some studies state that this can stimulate the uterus causing contractions. New scientific evidence indicates that using sealants is very effective for pregnant women who are prone to have cavities.
Other studies suggest that periodontal disease may relate to babies with low birthweight, premature labor and preeclampsia.
In conclusion, it’s very important to take good care of your oral hygiene during pregnancy. If it’s necessary, you can receive dental treatments, as long as there’s no risk involved. Finally, you can always ask your obstetrician if it’s necessary for you to visit a dentist.