Increased risk of tooth decay in pregnancy? Here are 7 dental care tips to keep you and your baby smiling
Dental health and oral hygiene, if taken for granted in the daily rush of life, can lead to increased risk of tooth decay in pregnancy if cavities are left untreated to fester in the mouth. Mommies-to-be do everything to ensure healthy nine months – from proper prenatal care to maintaining a healthy diet, including Yoga exercises in daily routine and even giving up a few habits like minimising alcohol consumption and avoiding smoking and tobacco but dental health still remains largely neglected.
While hormonal shifts are expected to cause morning sickness, swollen feet, back pain, fatigue and brain fog during pregnancy, keeping the expecting women prepared from beforehand, teeth pain or sensitivity can catch them off guard. Few know that hormonal changes during pregnancy can leave gums more vulnerable to plaque, causing them to bleed or remain sore and swollen.
While one research revealed that approximately 18 out 100 premature births maybe due to chronic infection of gums, another study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology in January 2019 found out that women who entered labor early were one and a half times more likely (45%) to have gum disease than women who experienced a perfect pregnancy (29%).
In a telephone conversation with Hindustan Times, dentists Dr. Farhana Anzar and Dr. Adeeba Khalid shared some tips to take care of yours and your baby’s smile since dental care is very essential for conceiving:
1.It is essential to brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, especially before going to bed to avoid bacterial growth on the left over food particles inside the mouth. The bacterial growth leads to enamel damaging which results in tooth decay or cavity.
2.Floss once every day as it helps reach in the spaces between the teeth and cleans the areas that the tooth brush bristles missed. On the recommendation of your dentist, use a mouthwash, not an alcohol based one though, to kill bad breath and add freshness.
3.As for the brushing style, one must always begin by brushing one quad (set of four teeth) four times in forward motion and four times backward. Do it in circular motion while pressing the brush upwards when cleaning the lower jaw and alternately, press the bristles downwards when cleaning the upper jaws. Keep the toothbrush tilted to touch the teeth and jaws both while cleaning them simultaneously. Cover two-three teeth with the brush and first clean them clockwise and then anti-clockwise. Repeat the same until all the quads are cleaned in the same manner. Make sure that the toothbrush has soft bristles instead of hard ones that damage the teeth, has a small or normal head that can easily reach the molars at the end of one’s jaw and has a head that is a little flexible and can bend while cleaning the inner layer of the front teeth.
4.Rinse your mouth with warm salty water, especially after meals to avoid or soothe swollen and cut down any room for the bacteria to grow. Before taking any tooth antiseptic, consult your dentist about its safety since they may contain pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) or benzocaine.
5.Avoid a cariogenic diet that includes sugary and starchy foods like sweetened cereals, cakes, bread, rice, hard and chewy candies, noodles, crackers and even sticky foods such as toffees or candies, cookies, dried fruits, fruit snacks or any such sweet cravings. If you do eat, make sure to brush your teeth properly afterwards to prevent cavities and strengthen your teeth.
6.For those who feel nauseous and vomit due to morning sickness, brush in the same manner, as suggested above, afterwards because the acidity level in the mouth increases after vomiting.
7.Since regular periodontal (gum) exams are very important during pregnancy, do not skip on dental checkups feeling tired or lazy. Some pregnant women might need frequent cleanings and dental procedures are safe to perform in the second trimester.
While increased hormones, cravings for sugary food and retching while brushing teeth may cause tooth decay during pregnancy, maintaining proper oral hygiene at home and with professional help from your dentist before, during and after pregnancy can help cure it. The good news is that these are often short-lived issues and you’re not alone if you’re experiencing them.
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