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Pregnancy and Oral Health

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Pregnancy and Oral Health

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Pregnancy is a crucial stage. Oral health can significantly influence pregnancy. Read this article to know more.

Written by

Dr. Lochana .k

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Sneha Kannan

Published At December 3, 2020
Reviewed AtApril 10, 2024

Introduction:

Pregnancy is the period when a woman goes through a lot of roller-coaster rides. It is the time when the woman has to give additional importance to their health. When they face a lot of physiological changes, it might directly influence their oral health. Most of the dental treatments are restricted during pregnancy. Therefore, a routine dental check-up is necessary for the first trimester of pregnancy. Getting an oral health check-up before planning the pregnancy is even better. There are many pieces of evidence to prove that young children get a lot of bacteria, causing dental caries from their mothers. When the dental status has lots of possibilities inherited from the mother, it is necessary to take additional care for oral hygiene.

What Are the Common Dental Problems Faced by Pregnant Women?

According to the CDC reports, nearly 60 to 75 percent of pregnant women are known to have gingivitis. They are also easily prone to dental caries. The reduced salivary flow will contribute to various dental problems. People who are having severe periodontal problems during pregnancy might have a possibility of systemic complications. Pregnant women tend to get pyogenic granuloma. The other name of pyogenic granuloma is pregnancy tumor. They form a lump on the surface of the gingiva. It is not cancerous but looks very red, and tends to bleed very easily. Tooth erosion is another common problem experienced by pregnant women. This is due to the morning sickness they undergo during pregnancy. Excess vomiting can damage the most challenging surface of teeth, the enamel. However, this is seen only in the initial stage of pregnancy. Some women might experience too much irritation and sensitivity in the gingiva.

Periodontal disease causes various complications during pregnancy which are as follows:

  • Pregnant women with periodontal disease may be at high risk of delivering premature birth or low birth-weight babies. The bacteria and inflammation associated with periodontal disease may trigger an immune response that leads to preterm birth.

  • There is a link between periodontal disease and preeclampsia (presence of protein during pregnancy). The inflammation caused by periodontal disease contributes to vascular changes and leads to the development of the condition.

  • During pregnancy, periodontal diseases increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes. There is an association between periodontal disease and pregnancy due to inflammation and insulin resistance.

What Are the Notable Concerns for Oral Health?

  • Go for a dental check-up and inform the dentist about the pregnancy plan. If they are planning to get pregnant, the dentist will try to treat untreated caries, and also they will guide them in improving the periodontal health of the individual. If an individual is in the early stages of pregnancy, the dentist will provide them with a few guidelines for maintaining oral health. The dentist will check for swelling or bleeding in the gums. The patient should provide a past dental history.

  • If an individual has any dental decay, the doctor will guide them to go for restorative procedures.

  • The other problems experienced by pregnant women are:

    • Mouth sores.

    • Ulceration that might be accompanied by pain.

    • Halitosis-bad breath.

    • Loosening of the tooth.

    • Pain in the gums.

    • The reddish appearance of the gums will be seen along with the recession.

How to Protect Teeth During Pregnancy?

There are specific tips to be followed to stay away from dental problems during the pregnancy period. They are:

  • Do not delay dental treatment, especially when an individual is having pain.

  • The hormonal changes that occur during the pregnancy can cause swelling of the gums and result in gingivitis. It can further proceed to periodontitis if the problem is not treated at an earlier stage.

  • Brush the teeth two times a day with fluoridated toothpaste. It is necessary to follow good brushing techniques. Change the toothbrush once every three months. Using a brush for a prolonged time cannot improve oral health. It is also advised not to share toothbrushes with others.

  • If an individual vomits a lot during pregnancy, it is good to rinse the mouth with a little baking soda. This will help them prevent the acid from attacking the enamel of the teeth. An individual can also use alcohol-free mouthwashes to maintain good hygiene.

  • Exposure to X-rays should be restricted as it might affect the baby. Only a minimal amount of radiation exposure is advisable. An individual should check with the doctor before getting exposed to dental X-rays.

  • If the patient is diagnosed with pyogenic granuloma, the surgical removal of the granuloma is recommended. It can be done with laser treatment or any other conventional excision method. However, laser treatment is recommended for pregnant patients because pyogenic granulomas tend to bleed a lot. If the granuloma is not causing pain or discomfort, then it is recommended to leave the lesion as such.

  • Periodontal health is known to become poor in patients who smoke. The habit of smoking should be stopped abruptly for the concern of the baby.

General Tips:

  • If an individual has a feeling of nausea throughout the day, then try to eat frequent small meals.

  • Dairy supplementation is necessary for pregnant women. They should add foods that are rich in dairy content. It might include milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt. During pregnancy, the levels of calcium are known to decrease. It is advised to maintain the calcium levels within the normal limits.

  • Do not eat foods that are rich in sugar content. Avoid aerated drinks and beverages.

  • Stop smoking and alcohol consumption. Excessive consumption of alcohol can result in fetal alcohol syndrome. There is an increased risk of abortion in women who smoke.

What Are the Medications That Are Safe During Pregnancy?

When a woman is confirmed to be pregnant, certain medications are considered unsafe for consumption. It is possible to manage oral pain with the help of non-opioid medications. If opioids are prescribed, then only low-dose medication is preferred.

  • Acetaminophen.

  • Codeine.

  • Meperidine.

  • Morphine.

The following medications should be avoided during pregnancy:

  • Ciprofloxacin.

  • Clarithromycin.

  • Tetracycline.

  • Levofloxacin.

  • Moxifloxacin.

The medications that are to be avoided during the first and third trimester of pregnancy are:

  • Aspirin.

  • Naproxen.

  • Ibuprofen.

What Are the Complications of Poor Oral Health During Pregnancy?

The complications of poor oral health during pregnancy are:

  • Premature birth of the baby.

  • A baby that is very low in weight during birth.

  • Pre-eclampsia.

Since pregnant women's oral health is essential, it is useful to always stay in touch with a dentist to clarify doubts about dental health and practices. People can also get help from our online platform.

Conclusion:

Maintaining good oral hygiene during pregnancy is good for both the mother and the baby. The hormonal changes during pregnancy can elevate the risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and loosening of the tooth. To protect oral health during pregnancy, the mother should practice good oral hygiene, regular brushing, and regular dental check-ups. Taking proper dental treatment when needed, pregnant women can reduce the risk of dental problems and associated complications.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

What Are the Oral Changes in Pregnancy?

Pregnancy can cause dental issues in some women, such as gum disease and tooth decay. In addition, hormones affect the gums and teeth during pregnancy. Gingivitis, pyogenic granuloma, gingival hyperplasia, and salivary changes are all common oral changes during pregnancy.

2.

What Is the Importance of Dental Care During pregnancy?

There is an increased risk of certain dental health issues during pregnancy. Understanding the significance of dental care during pregnancy is one of the most effective ways to avoid cavities and periodontal diseases.

3.

Is It Okay to Use Mouthwash During Pregnancy?

Mouthwash is safe to use during pregnancy. It can be an effective way to maintain good oral hygiene, especially if one suffers from gingivitis due to the changing pregnancy hormones.

4.

Can One Visit Dentist During Pregnancy?

A checkup during pregnancy is both safe and necessary for dental health. One can not only schedule cleanings and procedures such as cavity fillings before the baby is born. The dentist can also assist with any pregnancy-related dental symptoms one may be experiencing.

5.

Can Pregnancy Take Calcium From Teeth?

Another widely held belief is that the unborn baby steals calcium from a woman's teeth, causing tooth decay. This is not correct. Women may be more prone to tooth decay during pregnancy because they eat more frequently to avoid nausea.

6.

Should Pregnant Women Change Their Toothpaste During Pregnancy?

 
If morning sickness prevents brushing teeth, switch to toothpaste with a neutral flavor during pregnancy. If you suffer from morning sickness and frequent vomiting, rinse your mouth with water or a mouth rinse.

7.

Which Trimester Is Safe for Dental Treatment?

Routine dental treatment is safe to perform in the early third trimester, but routine dental treatment should be avoided after the middle of the third trimester.
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Dr. Lochana .k
Dr. Lochana .k

Dentistry

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