Pregnancy affects the entire body, including our oral health.
While it may not be the first thing on your mind, maintaining your oral health during pregnancy is very important. There are several different ways that oral health problems can occur during pregnancy. It’s not uncommon for pregnant women to experience bleeding or swollen gums, eroded tooth enamel from vomiting and other unpleasant oral health problems.
Here’s some more information about taking care of your oral health during pregnancy.
When you’re a mommy-in-the-making, you have to make a lot of sacrifices. Namely, your body will suffer through some dramatic changes. While most of them are pretty familiar to pregnant women, one area is often neglected – oral health problems. They are pretty common ailments for pregnant women, and they shouldn’t be ignored. Here are a few issues that might occur during pregnancy and how you can resolve them.
Gums tend to swell
It’s not easy handling the influx of hormones during pregnancy, but they’re an essential part of the process. They influence just about every part of your body, for better or for worse, but it’s mostly leaning towards the worse part.
Whether it’s the mood swings, bladder getting smaller, or onset of weird food cravings, there’s always something that hormones will offset. This happens with our gums as well. You might have noticed that they swell quite a bit more than they did before the pregnancy. This causes them to be easily irritated and damaged, which is something you want to avoid.
Use soft bristle toothbrushes to minimize irritation and keep your gums clean. An advanced cleaning toothpaste is also recommended, as it can help clear plaque without causing gingivitis.
Pregnancy “tumors” appear
Don’t let the name alarm you, these tumors aren’t the malignant kind. Small, raspberry-like growths appear between the teeth and often cause pregnant women to rush to their dentist while worried out of their minds.
The growths aren’t harmful, but they can be irritating. They will disappear after the baby is born, but until then, they will cause mild discomfort while eating. The good news is that they can be removed if necessary with the help of cleaning.
Morning sickness can harm teeth
Morning sickness is a very recognizable sign of pregnancy when it starts, and many women have experienced it. What most women don’t know is that it can be very harmful to tooth health. This is generally true of vomiting, but most vomiting conditions don’t last very long. Morning sickness, especially hyperemesis gravidarum can have a detrimental effect on oral health during pregnancy.
The acidic nature of stomach content erodes tooth enamel and it can cause further damage the longer the exposure. There are some precautions you can take to prevent this harmful effect, though. Your first instinct might be to brush your teeth, but this won’t do any good. Instead, what you should be doing is swishing your mouth with some baking soda in water. This will neutralize the acid and provide some protection for your teeth.
There’s lots of snoring
Another irritating effect of hormonal imbalances during pregnancy is snoring at night. The mucous membranes in the nose tend to swell, causing a disruption of the flow of air. This results in the infamous sounds that will keep your partner awake throughout the night.
While this may only seem like an annoyance, it can also be a telling first sign of various disorders. Most commonly, snoring in pregnancy can be the result of sleep apnea. This might not be an immediate threat to most adults, but pregnant women need to be wary. Less oxygen is bad news for the baby, which is why most dentists will recommend that an acrylic snoring mouth guard is applied at night. This allows air to enter the airways without issue and keeps you well-oxygenated.
On the other hand, snoring could also be a sign of gestational diabetes, another common condition. To make sure it’s kept under control, consult your designated medical professional for screening and tests.
Increased need for calcium
It’s common knowledge that a pregnant woman’s nutritional needs are greater than when she wasn’t with child. The baby takes up a lot of resources as it grows, which is why pregnant women must adjust their diets to compensate for this loss.
While most nutritional needs are met, many women disregard their body’s need for calcium. It’s something that’s essential to bone and tooth health throughout the pregnancy, as well as something that the baby requires as well. Luckily, there are many foods that help increase calcium.
Good dietary sources of calcium include cheese, milk, and yogurt. Increasing intake of these should be more than enough to compensate for the low levels of calcium. If you are unable to increase your intake of calcium through food alone, then consider taking a calcium supplement for better oral health during pregnancy.
Maintaining oral hygiene and health is very important in everyday life. This goes double for pregnancy, as there are many factors that negatively influence the health of our pearly whites during this period. Make sure you apply the safety measures mentioned above for optimal oral health during pregnancy and you’ll be able to deliver your baby without ending up with any problems with your teeth.
Mia Johnson is a writer with a ten-year-long career in journalism, recently writing on behalf of Penrith Dental. She has written extensively about health, fitness, and lifestyle. A native to Melbourne, she now lives in Sydney with her 3 dogs where she spends her days dribbling and taking care of her 900 square feet garden.