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Pregnancy and Oral Health

Published on Dec 03, 2020 and last reviewed on Sep 22, 2022   -  4 min read

Abstract

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

Pregnancy and Oral Health

Overview:

Pregnancy is the period where a woman goes through a lot of roller-coaster rides. It is time she has to give additional importance to her health. When she is facing a lot of physiological changes, it might directly influence the oral health of an individual. Most of the dental treatments are restricted during pregnancy. Therefore, a routine dental check-up is necessary for the first trimester of pregnancy. Getting your oral health status checked up before planning your 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 mother. 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 60-75% 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 it will look very red, and they tend 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.

What Are the Notable Concerns for Oral Health?

  • Go for a dental check-up and inform the dentist about your pregnancy plan. If you are planning to get pregnant, your dentist will try to treat untreated caries, and also they will guide you in improving the periodontal health of the individual. If you are in the early stages of pregnancy, the dentist will provide you 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 you have any dental decay, the doctor will guide you to go for restorative procedures.

  • The other problems experienced by pregnant women are:

What Are the Tips to Be Followed for Maintaining Oral Health?

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 you are having pain.

  • The hormonal changes which 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 your teeth two times a day with fluoridated toothpaste. It is necessary to follow good brushing techniques. Change your 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 you are vomiting a lot during your pregnancy, it is good to rinse your mouth with a little baking soda. This will help you prevent the acid from attacking the enamel of the teeth. You 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 exposure to radiation is advisable. You should check with the doctor before getting exposed to dental X-rays.

  • If the patient is diagnosed to have pyogenic granuloma, the surgical removal of the granuloma is recommended. It can be done with laser treatment or any other conventional excision method. But, 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 you have 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 the doubts on dental health and practices. You can also get help from our online platform.

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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.

Article Resources

Last reviewed at:
22 Sep 2022  -  4 min read

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