Dental care during pregnancy
Of course, it is no surprise when I say that it is important to pay attention to your dental care. But did you know that proper dental care is even more important during pregnancy than it was before? Yes, brushing your teeth twice a day with toothpaste that prevents inflammation is a must. Also, don't skip your beloved visits to the dentist. But why is this so important for pregnant women?
The importance of dental care during pregnancy
You probably don't like to hear this, but there is one more ailment to add to the list of pregnancy complaints: inflamed gums. In fact, during your pregnancy, you're more likely to deal with inflamed gums. It has even been given a specific name when it occurs during your pregnancy: pregnancy gingivitis.
Why is it more likely to affect you? Hormone fluctuations. This is because you have higher levels of progesterone in your body during pregnancy. Sigh, because what can't we blame pregnancy hormones for?
Possible consequences of gum inflammation during pregnancy
Inflamed gums in themselves can be truly unbearable in some cases, but this is not all. After all, it can have serious consequences that you absolutely want to avoid. Pregnant women with gum disease have a higher chance of miscarriage, premature birth, or a low-birth-weight baby. To be exact, this risk is about two to seven times higher compared to pregnant women without gum disease. Quite a big difference, in other words!
But why do inflamed gums increase this chance? This is because the bacteria that are on the gums during a gum infection can enter the placenta through the bloodstream. Unfortunately, this is not a fable and has been scientifically proven. I bet that you are now running straight to the bathroom to brush your teeth again thoroughly. All I can say is: good job!
How do you recognize gum disease during pregnancy?
Now that you know about the possible consequences of gingivitis during pregnancy, you'll want to know how to recognize inflamed gums. In most cases, you'll recognize it by redder and swollen gums, which often bleed when you brush your teeth. In addition, loose teeth, receding gums, a bad taste, or bad breath (and no, we're not talking about bad breath after that onion sandwich) can also be symptoms of gum inflammation. Pain, on the other hand, is usually not among the symptoms of gum disease. Thank goodness, because there are probably other pregnancy symptoms that do bother you.
Are you between two and eight months pregnant and do you recognize these symptoms in yourself? Then there is a good chance that you are suffering from gum inflammation. You know the drill: schedule another one of your favorite appointments. Of course, the one at the dentist!
Treating Gum Disease
Even with gum disease, the sooner you get treatment for it, the better. After all, research has shown that 2% of mommies to be who rang the alarm before the 28th week of their pregnancy because of gum disease had a child who was born prematurely. This compares to 10% of pregnant women who did not receive treatment for their inflamed gums before the 28th week of pregnancy. Of course, this is not to say that treating inflamed gums after the 28th week of your pregnancy is pointless, because treating later is always better than not treating at all!
Tips for healthy teeth during pregnancy
Besides visiting the dentist regularly, you might be wondering: are there things I can do myself to work on healthy teeth during my pregnancy? Yes, there are! Tip: Even if you're eager to get pregnant, it's a good idea to keep the following things in mind:
- Try to limit the number of times you eat, and preferably drink, to 7 per day. This can be tricky because of pregnancy sickness, so you probably prefer to eat small bits several times. Nevertheless, it is better for your teeth to limit this. And you now know how important your dental care is!
- This probably sounds obvious, but try to eat as healthy as possible and drink mostly water. Those pregnancy cravings can sometimes make that difficult: sweet treats like chocolate, licorice, or sour candies. Great for you at times of intense cravings, but unfortunately your teeth won't be too happy about it.
- Brush your teeth twice a day, and make sure your brushing lasts at least two minutes.
- Use fluoride toothpaste while brushing your teeth.
- Suffering from pregnancy sickness and vomiting? Suppress the tendency to brush your teeth immediately after vomiting, as the stomach acid makes your tooth enamel vulnerable. After vomiting, you may brush away the enamel if you brush your teeth too soon. Of course, it is understandable that you want to get rid of that foul taste in your mouth. A better solution to this is to use a fluoride mouthwash to rinse your mouth for a while.
- In addition to brushing your teeth with a toothbrush, it is also important to clean the spaces between your teeth with toothpicks, toothpicks, or floss.
- A final golden tip is to contact your dentist or dental hygienist as a preventive measure for advice on healthy teeth. That's what they are there for ;)
Myths about your teeth during pregnancy
You've probably heard the rumor that every pregnancy costs you a tooth. The word "rumor" is applicable here, because this is a myth. You are indeed at greater risk of getting gum disease during pregnancy, but pregnancy (thankfully) does not affect the health of your teeth. A second rumor that often circulates is that taking x-rays at the dentist during pregnancy is dangerous for the little inhabitant of your belly. Forget this as well, because the X-rays will only be around your teeth or jaw, and therefore stay far away from your little miracle. However, the dentist will only make X-rays in serious situations if he or she is aware of your pregnancy. No worries at all, baby momma!