Women have been blessed with the power of giving life.But, it requires immense strength, good health and positivity because pregnancy deals with so many changes in a woman’s body, some of which last a lifetime.
Pregnant ladies may not understand the relevance of the adaptations of their bodies to the health of their fetuses and therefore she requires immense support, medical intervention and preventive care at all stages.
Dental management too plays an important role that needs to be addressed because teeth are often one of the most ignored parts of our body.
In view of this, to help all the women out there take better care of their oral health during pregnancy the Nth Sense brings top 13 facts related to oral care and hygiene from certified doctor and physician Dr. Swati Bhushan
1. Female body starts to produce estrogen almost 10 times and progesterone almost 30 times more than before.
This hormonal storm during pregnancy causes unwanted exaggeration of previous dental infection. Pregnancy gingivitis in which there is swelling of gums with bleeding and foul smell has been reported in those females who suffered from gingivitis prior to pregnancy. The treatment is very simple. We need to just get routinely oral prophylaxis done especially if you are planning to have a baby, get it done before to reduce the chances of getting pregnancy gingivitis.
2. If you are already pregnant and suffering from pregnancy gingivitis, then the best time for oral prophylaxis is the second trimester.
Meanwhile try to brush twice and rinsing your mouth after every meal thoroughly.
3. It has been noticed that the speed of wisdom tooth eruption increases during pregnancy due to hormonal imbalances
Wisdom tooth eruption during pregnancy also leads to severe pain, discomfort, and difficulty in mouth opening. In Indian population women get pregnant at the age of 22 and above, wisdom teeth or third molar starts erupting from the age of 18 and above. It recommended getting the offending tooth extracted. So if suspected by your dentist or if you are feeling the tooth erupting in an awkward position do get it checked.
4. If you are already pregnant and facing difficulties due to a third molar eruption... Safest time to remove the third molar would be in the second trimester, under antibiotic coverage.
There is also a huge number of medicines contraindicated during pregnancy so please avoid self-medication. If the symptoms have started in the first and third trimester better to get it checked by your dentist. If required co your tooth dentist can either irrigate the site or do operculectomy to reduce your pain. Extractions in extreme conditions are also done in the first week of third trimester.
5. During pregnancy nearly 60 percent of females report of morning sickness wherein a person vomits or feels nauseous
Reports of morning sickness were noted especially in the morning or after breakfast during the first trimester, sometimes it extends even throughout the term of pregnancy.
In such cases avoid brushing your teeth immediately because stomach acids soften the tooth surface thus making brushing more abrasive instead just rinse your mouth with plain water (lukewarm) or add a teaspoon of baking soda to make it basic.
6.It has been noticed that patients who have had periodontal complaints before post-delivery end up having loss of tooth or a mobile tooth.
Periodontitis which means inflammation of the periodontium, this comprises of bone, gums and ligaments which hold the tooth to the bone.
As said, with each pregnancy a mother loses a tooth. This could be either due to hormones causing inflammation to increase or lack/ reduced amount of calcium levels.
Periodontal complaints are treatable to an extent by flap surgery/ laser surgery/ antibiotic therapy concomitantly or separately. But if progressed to greater extent saving teeth becomes very difficult.
Try to have a proper nourishing diet and a regular dental checkup once in six months to evaluate and rule out all the possible causes of periodontists.Such as, poor diet, trauma from occlusion, calculus deposits etc.
7. It has been noticed that due to excessive sugar intake during pregnancy and due to increased acidic environment of the oral cavity and carelessness toward oral health leads to increase in decay in pregnant ladies.
The best way to prevent it is to maintain oral hygiene and eat less refined sugar and more natural sugar like jaggery, sugarcane, fruits etc. Healthy diet, healthy teeth.
8. Use a fluoridated, alcohol-free mouth rinse daily to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities.
Even though using mouthwash containing alcohol for swish and spit in 30 sec is not going to cause any harm. There is a better way, according to The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), it recommends that pregnant women use a fluoridated, alcohol-free mouth rinse daily to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities. The AAPD suggests using a 0.05 percent sodium fluoride rinse once a day or a 0.02 percent sodium fluoride rinse twice a day. Alcohol tends to irritate your gums and has no beneficial effect.
9 Rinses work best if you swish them around your mouth for about 30 seconds before spitting them out.
If you use a mouth rinse at night, have it be the last thing that touches your teeth before bed.When using a rinse at other times of day, don't brush, floss, eat, drink, or even rinse with water for at least half an hour afterward, since that can reduce the effectiveness of the product.
10 During pregnancy a woman might suffer from small ulcers in the mouth which may give trouble while eating food.
These tiny ulcers are extremely painful and can be because of multiple reasons such as allergies, lack of vitamins, infections, constipation etc. Treatment depends on the cause but application of analgesic gels, honey does tend to provide relief. These ulcers are generally self-limiting and heal within 5-7 days.
11. Current evidence suggests that ‘dental radiography’ is measured as harmless in childbearing women.
The safety directly rests upon the type and amount of radiation to which the patient is exposed. Special precautionary measures should be guaranteed for pregnant women (e.g. thyroid collar, lead apron, and speed films) because the risk to the growing fetus is directly connected to rise in exposure. Fetus radiation exposure over 10 rads is considered to be hazardous and may contribute to mutation, mental retardation and abnormalities of the eyes. It’s uncommon for a single X-ray or collection of investigative X-rays to exceed 5 rads.For instance, the volume of radiation that a baby acquires from a mother’s dental X-ray is only 0.01 millirads. Since a rad is equivalent to 1000 millirads, one would have to have 100,000 dental X-rays for the baby to receive just one rad.
12. To preserve and promote oral health; scaling, polishing and root planing are recommended at any stage of pregnancy.
However, it is strictly advised to perform general dentistry procedures (i.e. routine restorations, rct s and elective extractions) after fetal organogenesis has taken place (i.e. in second and first week of third trimester). Extensive and prolonged dental procedures should be postponed till after delivery.All treatment modalities should focus on the prevention of oral diseases, regular monitoring and management of present disease.
13. Poor oral health of the mother can lead to adverse pregnancy outcomes such as lower birth weights, preterm labour, preeclampsia.
And therefore, it's imperative to take care of mother’s oral hygiene as well!
We hope these few pointers will help all the “Mom to Be” women take better care and precaution during their pregnancy.
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Dr Swati Kumar
Consultant Oral Diagnostician