Good Dental Health Is Important For Moms-to-Be
Expectant mothers or soon-to-be moms know and understand the importance of pre-natal checkups and pre-natal care. Unfortunately, not many realize that proper oral hygiene and dental care is also important especially if one is a mom-to-be. Good dental health is a must for all expectant mothers.
Pregnancy brings about a lot of changes in the woman’s body that can put it at an increased risk for developing gum diseases. Hormones are natural substances that are needed to allow the pregnancy to progress. However, some of these hormones have also been observed to cause swelling in the gums. This is what dentists call pregnancy gingivitis and is often characterized by reddish, swollen, and sometimes bleeding gums.
The issue with swollen gums is that it is a lot more vulnerable to bleeding especially when one uses the wrong kind of toothbrush. Bleeding is often a sign that there is already an opening in the gum tissue where germs can enter and reach the bloodstream. This can potentially lead to a more serious infection. Not only are you putting yourself at risk, but your baby as well. These microorganisms may be managed by the mother’s immune system. But in case an antibiotic is required, there’s a chance that the antibiotic can have a serious effect on the growing fetus.
Good dental health should help minimize the effects of pregnancy gingivitis. Pregnant women are strongly advised to use a softer-bristled toothbrush to help minimize irritating and injuring the gum tissues. A trip to the dentist can also help prevent gingivitis a lot better by making sure that tartar and plaque build-up are adequately removed. This can help reduce the number of microorganisms that can enter the bloodstream in the event that there is a break in the integrity of the gum tissue. You can look here for other ways a dentist can help you prevent and manage pregnancy gingivitis.
Another issue that all pregnant women face, especially in the first few months of pregnancy, is morning sickness or nausea in pregnancy. Becoming nauseated almost always leads to vomiting which can coat the oral cavity including the teeth with the acids from the stomach. These acids are so strong that they can erode the already-compromised structure of the teeth. This can also lead to gum disease as well as dental caries since the natural protective layer of the teeth has already been compromised.
The same is true for moms-to-be in their third trimester. Because of the growing baby, the uterus pushes upward in the abdominal cavity. This pushes the stomach towards the chest cavity and causes it to propel acids towards the esophagus. Moreover, because of the growing pressure below the level of the stomach, the valve between the stomach and the esophagus may not close properly leading to the backflow of stomach contents into the esophagus. This can cause acid reflux or heartburn.
To address the presence of acids in the mouth, most moms-to-be will brush their teeth right after vomiting. However, this is not what dental professionals recommend. It is highly recommended that one should gargle with a baking soda and water solution to help neutralize the acids on the teeth. Once this has been done, then the teeth can be brushed and rinsed with an appropriate mouthwash.
Ideally, dental visits should continue even when one is pregnant. This is to make sure that the dentist is well-informed of the woman’s pregnancy. This allows the dentist to make the necessary modifications in his plan of care so that the growing fetus will not be affected while safeguarding the overall health of both mom-to-be and her soon-to-be-born child. Most dental procedures are typically postponed during the first 3 months of pregnancy because this is a very crucial period in the development of the fetus. Necessary dental procedures can be re-initiated by the 4th month of pregnancy.
Good dental health shouldn’t stop just because one is pregnant. As a matter of fact, it should even become more judicious and more purposeful since there’s another life that depends on it. Using an appropriate toothbrush, knowing what to do after an episode of morning sickness, and continuing routine dental checkups are a must for every expectant mom.