Is Oral Care Essential During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy affects your entire body, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that your teeth aren’t spared!

Why is oral hygiene so important?

Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential for overall health. Imagine not having teeth for a second. How would you eat? Similarly, if your mouth were dry and lacked saliva, you would find it difficult to speak and taste food. Apart from maintaining health, the oral cavity also helps in early detection of any diseases. Hence, it is important that you visit your dentist once you confirmed your pregnancy. Based on your oral status, your dentist will suggest a treatment plan.

Commonly encountered oral diseases/conditions during pregnancy:

  1. Pregnancy Gingivitis:  Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums due to plaque and calculus deposit. During pregnancy, the hormonal changes cause “pregnancy gingivitis” in many women. It may seem pretty harmless, but we advise you to consult your dentist and see if a professional cleaning of your teeth is required to reduce the inflammation. Proper brushing, flossing and using a prescribed mouthwash can help in prevention.
  2. Pyogenic Granuloma: Also known as  “pregnancy tumor”, is caused by the hormonal changes seen during pregnancy. These are reddish/purplish overgrowths seen on the gums in between your teeth. Generally seen during your second trimester, these outgrowths involute post-delivery. Maintain proper oral hygiene and prevent trauma at the area ( avoid touching or vigorous brushing). If bleeding or pain is noticed, consult your dentist.
  3. Erosion: During the course of your pregnancy you may experience morning sickness, vomiting, and acid reflux. This leads to the regurgitation of stomach acid into your mouth and erodes your teeth (particularly the side of your tooth which is contacting your tongue). Mix baking soda in water and swish your mouth before brushing. This helps to neutralize the effects of the acid. Some of you find the flavor of toothpaste as a triggering factor and have a gag reflex. Changing your toothpaste to a bland one would offer relief in such situations.
  4. Dry mouth: Hormones in your body may cause a decrease in saliva production causing dryness of your mouth, which may cause dental cavities in your teeth. Keep yourself hydrated and chew sugar-free gum to increase saliva production.

 Take care of your teeth and gums by brushing twice daily and floss once a day.  Reduce eating sticky and sugary food. It is important to maintain your oral health along with your general well-being. Follow your appointments and if any dental treatment is to be done, please do it only when your dentist consents it.

 

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Aishwarya

Dr. Aishwarya Rajeev has completed her MDS degree and is currently pursuing her PhD. She is an avid reader and loves to teach and write!

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