Continuing dental hygiene is an important step to avoid other health complications. During pregnancy, mother and child are at heightened health risks due to poor oral care. Due to hormone changes, pregnant mothers are at increased risk for gum disease as well. Studies have linked gum disease to dementia, arthritis and kidney disease. Gum disease also puts unborn children at risk due to their body’s inability to fight off bacteria. Pregnant women must take extra precautions to avoid these health complications. There are five simple, oral healthcare tips that expecting mothers can follow to avoid unhealthy oral conditions.
Diet is an important building block of dental care when pregnant. Pregnant women may develop cravings for sugary or starchy snacks. To curb these cravings, substitute fruits, raw foods, vegetables or dairy products for sweets and starches. Unborn children need these building blocks for their developing teeth which begin to form during week six of pregnancy. Do not take part in unusual diets without a doctor’s consent. Unconventional diets may not provide needed nutrients for a mother and her unborn child.
During pregnancy, a mother’s gums are sensitive. Pain associated with brushing may lead to a mother brushing her teeth less, leaving her open to gum disease, which can affect her unborn child. As an alternative, pregnant mothers should gently brush their teeth after meals, with a soft brush, to avoid pain. If an expecting mother suffers from bleeding or pain, she should arrange a visit with her dentist in Hudson.
Rinsing with anti-bacterial mouth wash should follow gentle after-meal brushings. Mouthwash can prevent oral bacteria from transferring from mother to child through her placenta. A bacterial infection of this nature can cause low birth weight. Mothers can also transfer bacteria to their child after birth by kissing them while they have an oral infection. Mouthwash helps to prevent gum disease which can cause inflammation and mouth odor. During pregnancy, the magnified effects of gum disease can lead to bone loss.
If possible, avoid major and elective dental procedures, including oral piercing and teeth whitening, during pregnancy. If a mother has urgent medical needs she must inform the doctor of her pending birth. As a rule of thumb, it’s better to avoid any procedures that use x-rays, chemicals or medications until after the second trimester or after the baby is born.
Although discouraged in the past, prenatal dental visits are imperative to prevent oral complications that may cause health issues for an expectant mother or her child. Fifty to seventy percent of mothers experience “pregnancy gingivitis,” a result of high progesterone hormones. During pregnancy, periodontal disease can lead to premature and low birth weight for babies.
Dental care when pregnant is vitally important. Besides following these oral healthcare tips, expectant mothers should schedule a dental appointment early in their pregnancy to review a revised dental care plan. If a pregnant mother notices sensitivity, swelling or any other abnormal symptoms in her gums, she should schedule an appointment with her dentist in Hudson at once.