The excitement of having a new baby can be a thrilling experience. These new members of your family can be awe-inspiring and wonderful, but handling the troubles that come with pregnancy can be a challenge. If you’ve been proactive, you’ve probably visited your gynecologist, and they’ve probably recommended folate supplements, avoiding alcohol, and making sure you get a proper diet. Making sure your pregnancy is safe and successful matters for your newborn baby, but one of the aspects most often neglected is our oral health. We’re here to argue that maintaining your oral health is just as important and that having healthy routines such as brushing and flossing can prevent serious complications later on during your pregnancy.
Poor dental health is considered a problem for pregnant women because with pregnancy, the risk of cavities, ulcers, and gum disease increases. These issues can present problems for your newborn in the future if not properly taken care of during your pregnancy. There’s no need to worry, though, as we’re here to help you get the tips you need for healthy teeth.
The hormones produced during your pregnancy can contribute to higher rates of dental problems. Hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone often develop at higher rates due to the demands of your newborn, and thus your body usually responds to these changes through inflammation. Inflammation causes blood pressure to rise, and while your body’s working to provide nutrients for both you and your new baby, your body’s on overload fighting off infections and potential diseases. However, inflammation does lead our bodies to become more vulnerable to infections and diseases even while it’s used as a defense response by the immune system, and so many oral infections can easily take place.
One of the biggest risks that often comes with pregnancy is gingivitis. Normally, gingivitis can be treated in its early stages, but once it advances to periodontal disease, it becomes a problem. According to studies from the Maternal and Child Health Journal, around 18% of premature births have been linked with periodontal disease and thus have a higher risk of mortality. Women at a higher risk of preeclampsia are also more likely to have periodontal disease. Periodontal disease should not be taken lightly – periodontal disease breaks down the gums and jawbone and can spread the infection through the bloodstream and become a direct link to your newborn if not treated.
Most often, gingivitis appears out of the blue during pregnancy, but this experience is normal. It’s when you don’t care for your teeth that gingivitis can become worse. The best way to begin is to follow these tips for better dental health:
• If you experience nausea while brushing your teeth, wash out your mouth with water and wait at least 30 minutes to reduce your morning sickness.
• Avoid simple carbohydrates as they can easily contribute to plaque around your teeth and gums.
• Make sure to have a vitamin-rich diet filled with vitamin D, C, A, and E.
• Brush and floss your teeth at least twice daily
For more information about your oral health, the best place to go is to visit your local pediatric or family dentist for an appointment.