Expectant Mothers’ Periodontal Health Vital to Health of Her Baby

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How Oral Health is an important part of a healthy pregnancy.

When a woman becomes pregnant, she knows it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle to ensure both the health of herself and the health of her baby. BDC recommendations urge pregnant women to maintain periodontal health as well.

Periodontal disease, also known as Gum disease, is a long lasting, bacteria-induced, inflammatory condition that attacks the gum tissue and in more severe cases, the bone supporting the teeth. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss and has been associated with other systemic diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Several research studies have suggested that women with periodontal disease may be more likely to deliver babies prematurely or with low-birth weight than mothers with healthy gums.

Babies with a birth weight of less than 5.5 pounds may be at risk of long-term health problems such as delayed motor skills, social growth, or learning disabilities. Similar complications are true for babies born at least three weeks earlier than its due date. Other issues associated with pre-term birth include respiratory problems, vision and hearing loss, or feeding and digestive problems.

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Routine brushing and flossing, and seeing a dentist for a comprehensive periodontal evaluation during pregnancy may decrease the chance of adverse pregnancy complications.

A mother’s oral health status is a strong predictor of her children’s oral health status.

Taking good care of your mouth, teeth and gums during pregnancy can help you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Looking after your teeth before pregnancy

You’re less likely to have dental problems during pregnancy if you look after your teeth and gums before you are pregnant. You can do this by:
  • Brushing your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Flossing between your teeth once a day.
  • Eating a healthy diet and limiting food and drinks high in added sugar.
  • Avoiding tobacco products and minimising alcohol (it’s advised not to drink alcohol during pregnancy, and tobacco products should be avoided at all times).
  • Visiting your dentist every 6 to 12 months.
If you’re planning on getting pregnant, see your dentist to discuss any treatments that can be done before your pregnancy. If you need dental treatment during pregnancy, non-urgent procedures can often be performed after the first trimester.

How can you prevent dental problems during pregnancy?

Here’s how you can help prevent dental problems during pregnancy
Always tell your dentist if you are pregnant .Dentists will take extra precautions when they know you’re pregnant to ensure your care is safe for you and your baby.

    1 ) Vomiting can damage teeth
Pregnancy hormones soften the ring of muscle that keeps food inside the stomach. Gastric reflux (regurgitating food or drink) or the vomiting associated with morning sickness can cover your teeth with strong stomach acids. Repeated reflux and vomiting can damage the surface of the tooth (the enamel) and increase the risk of decay.

Try these suggestions if you’re experiencing vomiting:
  • Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after vomiting. While the teeth are covered in stomach acids, the actions of brushing may scratch the tooth enamel.
  • Rinse your mouth thoroughly with plain tap water.
  • Follow up with a mouthwash containing fluoride.
  • If you don’t have a fluoridated mouthwash, put a blob of toothpaste containing fluoride on your finger and smear it over your teeth. Rinse thoroughly with water.
  • Wait for an hour after vomiting before you brush.

    2 ) Retching or gagging while brushing teeth
Some pregnant women find that brushing their teeth, particularly the back teeth, can cause gagging. However, it’s important to brush all of your teeth to avoid tooth decay.

Some tips to help prevent gagging include:
  • Use a toothbrush with a small soft head, such as a brush made for toddlers.
  • Take your time. Go slowly when you brush.
  • It may help to close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing.
  • Try listening to music.
  • If the taste of the toothpaste causes you to gag, switch to another brand. Or brush your teeth with water and then use a mouthwash containing fluoride. Go back to brushing with toothpaste containing fluoride as soon as you can.

    3 ) Food cravings while pregnant
Some women have unusual food cravings while pregnant. If you have cravings for sugary snacks, it’s best to avoid them as it may increase your risk of tooth decay. Try to snack on foods low in added sugar instead.

If nothing but sweetness will satisfy your craving, try to sometimes choose healthier options, such as fresh fruit. Rinse your mouth with mouthwash containing fluoride or brush your teeth after having sugary snacks.


    4 ) Increase your calcium during pregnancy
During pregnancy, you will need to increase the amount of calcium you eat or drink to protect your bones and the needs of your developing baby.

Good sources of calcium include:
  • milk, cheese and plain yoghurt or sugar-free fruit yoghurt
  • calcium-fortified soy, almond or other types of milk, cheese and yoghurt if you can’t have dairy (choose products low in added sugar)
  • some types of nuts such as almonds

    5 ) Increase your vitamin D during pregnancy
Vitamin D helps the body to utilise calcium. Small amounts of sun exposure can help to support vitamin D levels. Take care not to get sunburnt.

Good food sources of vitamin D include:
  • fatty fish, such as salmon, herring and mackerel (discuss with your doctor how much of the types of fish you can safely have during pregnancy)
  • eggs
  • Umargarinese a
  • vitamin D fortified milk (and alternatives)
  • breads and cereals.
If you’re not getting enough vitamin D from your diet, you can take supplements – ask your doctor or obstetrician if you need to take a vitamin D supplement.

What can you do to help prevent dental problems?

Here’s how you can help keep your teeth and gums healthy:

  • Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and floss once a day. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles. Regular brushing and flossing can remove plaque and help keep your teeth and gums healthy.
  • If you can’t brush your teeth because of vomiting, use antacids or rinse your mouth with a mixture of 1 teaspoon baking soda in 1 cup of water. Rinsing can help reduce the amount of acid in your mouth. Antacids are medicines that help neutralize stomach acid. You can buy them over the counter without a prescription from your provider. But don’t take any medicine—even OTC medicine—without talking to your provider first.
  • Visit your dentist for a regular dental checkup every 6 months (twice a year), even during pregnancy. At your checkup, tell your dentist that you’re pregnant.
  • Eat healthy foods and limit sweets. Healthy foods include fruits and vegetables, lean meat, whole-grain breads and pasta and low-fat dairy products. Limit sweets and sugary foods and drink water instead of sugary drinks. Eating healthy foods helps give you and your growing baby important nutrients. Your baby’s teeth start developing between 3 and 6 months of pregnancy. Nutrients like calcium, protein, phosphorus, and vitamins A, C and D, help your baby’s teeth grow healthy.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Talk to your dentist about how can you prevent dental problems during pregnancy? and other precautions to preserve your baby’s health and teeth.

    Call / WhatsApp to our office 7676719103 to know more or visit our website www.bharathdentalclinic.in