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When people are expecting, we know that it means some pretty big changes to the expectant mother’s body for the next nine months at least. But one might not know how oral health and pregnancy are related.
While one waits for a little one to arrive, here are 5 things to know about oral health and pregnancy:
1. For an expectant mother, what can be a good advice about maintaining a good oral hygiene routine?
Contrary to the old wives’ tales, pregnancy itself doesn’t damage the mother’s teeth, however it can lead to issues with gum disease and increased risk of tooth decay.
As with all the life stages, maintaining an effective oral hygiene routine is essential during pregnancy to prevent dental decay and disease. This means brushing morning and night and morning with a fluoridated toothpaste, regular interdental cleaning, eating a balanced diet, and visiting your dentist regularly.
For optimal health during your pregnancy, a visit to dentist as soon as you are planning a pregnancy or as soon as you know you are pregnant is recommended. This will allow plenty of time to assess, plan and attend to your own oral health, as well as provide much needed information on what is the ideal environment for your new baby to secure optimal oral health for their future.
2. For a heavily pregnant mother, what over-the-counter mouth wash can be recommended?
Many over-the-counter products are safe to take during pregnancy; however, mouth wash solutions that contain alcohol should also be avoided, as no known quantity of alcohol is considered safe during pregnancy.
We could suggest to try an alcohol-free, fluoridated mouth wash, which can help provide some additional protection against decay.
3. What an expectant mother should do when her gums look quite red and inflamed?
Hormonal changes can make pregnant women more susceptible to gum disease called gingivitis – where gums become red and inflamed, and prone to bleeding.
There have been some studies, which suggest a link between gum disease and preterm/low birth weight babies. While the current evidence is not predictable, it would be best to ensure your own oral health is being managed.
Signs of gum disease may include:
When the mother notices a sign of gum disease, she should see her oral health professional for advice.
While hormones play a part, it can also be still bacterial deposits or plaque that is the major cause of gum disease. Keeping teeth clean, paying particular attention to the gum line, will dramatically reduce a pregnant woman’s risk of gingivitis or more complex gum diseases.
4. What additional vitamins or supplements one can take during her pregnancy to keep her teeth in top shape?
Calcium and vitamin D are of particular importance during pregnancy, for both the mother and the growing baby. Calcium protects the mother’s bone mass, and meets the nutritional needs of the baby, while vitamin D helps the mother’s body utilize that calcium more effectively.
Increase calcium intake by consuming more dairy products, and other foods high in calcium like salmon or trout, leafy greens like kale and spinach, dried beans, almonds and chia seeds. Good food sources of vitamin D include cheese, fatty fish like tuna, mackerel or salmon, eggs, and foods fortified with vitamin D However, you should encourage your customer to check with her obstetrician, mid-wife or GP before making any decisions relating to supplements or dietary changes, to ensure there are no other medical considerations which may impact on the pregnancy and developing baby.
The best source of vitamin D is sunlight, so exposing skin to the sun each day can assist your customer to get adequate vitamin D. For fair skinned people around 5-10 minutes during summer, and 15-30 minutes during winter will suffice. People with darker skin need longer exposure as their darker skin reduces the penetration of UV light – from 15minutes up to an hour in summer, and from 20 minutes up to three hours in winter.
Once again, one should check with her medical professional before taking any action regarding supplementary dosing or action.
5. After a dreadful morning sickness, is it a good idea to brush her teeth straight afterwards to combat bad breath?
Unfortunately, for many women, vomiting during pregnancy is not uncommon. While for most women this will stop after the first trimester, some will experience ‘morning sickness’ all day long for the duration of their pregnancy! Frequent vomiting increases the risk of tooth erosion and tooth decay, as the strong stomach acids associated with vomiting, change the pH level of the oral environment, which can damage enamel and alter the type of bacterial activity in the mouth.
However, one should avoid brushing her teeth immediately after she has vomited, as this can actually damage the enamel that has been softened by the stomach acid.
The best idea would be to rinse with plain tap water straight after she has vomited, and then wait at least half an hour before brushing her teeth.
Drinking plenty of water, Chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free lozenges may also help to stimulate ‘protective saliva’, and neutralise the acid in her mouth.
Contact Family Care Dental Clinic for your consultation today!
Located in the heart of North Vancouver, BC, Family Care Dental Clinic is a group of passionate dentists and dental experts who are committed to providing patients with exceptional dental care in a modern and relaxing environment. We at Family Care Dental Clinic offer our clients a wide range of comprehensive dental services for the whole family. Call (604) 987-3545 or write us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment with a member of our excellent team!