Oral health during pregnancy
During pregnancy, a woman's body changes beyond recognition, and women face many hitherto unknown health changes. When it comes to oral health, the problems you may encounter during pregnancy should not be overlooked, because they can be the cause of additional complications for you or your baby at a later stage.
Statistics show that periodontitis and gingivitis are the most common problems associated with a woman's oral health during these 9 months.
Remember that after establishing the pregnancy, in the first trimester, it is extremely important to visit your dentist to check the condition of your teeth and give you the right advice to follow during the other months.
If you took care of your teeth before you became pregnant to protect yourself from complications, you will need to take twice as much care during pregnancy to keep both your health and that of your unborn child.
What causes problems during pregnancy?
1. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can endanger the health of the mother's gums and cause gingivitis - an infection of the gums. Most often this happens in the second trimester, and when the problem is not addressed, it can develop into periodontitis. It is the more serious form of gum disease, which involves bone loss. Studies also show a link between premature birth, low birth weight babies and periodontitis.
2. Stomach reflux or vomiting associated with morning sickness can cover the teeth with stomach acid. This can damage the tooth surface (enamel) and increase the risk of caries.
To minimize the risk of this:
• Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after vomiting. While the teeth are covered with stomach acid, brushing can scratch the tooth enamel;
• Rinse your mouth thoroughly with plain water;
• Continue with mouthwash containing fluoride;
• Wait an hour before brushing.
3. Some women suffer from unusual food cravings during pregnancy. This is the reason why they eat more often and sweeter food, which in turn increases the risk of caries. If, after all, your hunger is stronger than yourself, choose to consume healthier sweet foods such as fresh fruit.
Remember that eating more often predetermines more frequent contact of the teeth with the acid in the food, and this leads to increased production of acid-loving bacteria such as Streptococcus mutans, which produce more acid to weaken the enamel.
4. Pregnant mothers need prenatal vitamins, which contain folic acid, which maintains the health of the baby during pregnancy. When choosing a vitamin, do not rely on chewing or rubber vitamins, especially if you take them after brushing your teeth or at bedtime. They stick to your teeth and contain sugar, which can damage your teeth.
What to pay attention to?
1. Increase calcium during your pregnancy. This will protect your bones and your developing baby.
Good sources of calcium include:
• milk, cheese and plain yoghurt or fruit yoghurt without sugar;
• calcium-fortified soy, almond or other types of milk, cheese and yogurt;
• some types of nuts - such as almonds.
2. Increase your vitamin D intake.
This is the vitamin that helps the body process and use calcium. Moderate sunbathing and a balanced diet are a must for every pregnant woman.
Although only 10% of the vitamin in our body comes from the food we eat, here are some of the foods you can bet on:
• oily fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel;
• cereals and red meat.
If vitamin D deficiency is found, it is a good idea to take supplements that your doctor may recommend.
Dental care before pregnancy
You are less likely to experience dental problems during pregnancy if you take proper care of them before you become pregnant. Do not forget:
• Brush your teeth at least three times a day;
• Floss your teeth at least once a day;
• Emphasize healthy food and limit the intake of foods and beverages high in added sugar;
• Avoid smoking;
• See your dentist every 6 to 12 months.
If you are planning to become pregnant, visit your dentist to discuss any treatments that may be given before pregnancy occurs. If you need dental treatment during the pregnancy itself, delayed procedures can often only be performed after the first trimester.
Dr. Alexander Valev - one of the proven specialists in dentistry in our country, remains at your disposal for additional questions and advice related to your oral health at any stage of pregnancy.