Why Is My Oral Health So Important During Pregnancy? By: Sima Uppal B.A, R.D.H
“More than 75% of the population experiences gingivitis at some level” [Colgate-Palmolive Company 2009].
There are many forms of periodontal disease (commonly called “gum disease”); Gingivitis being the mildest form. It is an inflammatory process confined to the gums. Bleeding, redness, puffiness (inflammation) and occasionally dull achiness are at the top of its list for signs and symptoms.
Oral care becomes even more important during pregnancy and can even have an impact on a woman’s fertility!
Although the exact etiology of pregnancy gingivitis is unknown, exacerbated hormonal responses and an increased inflammatory response to dental plaque during pregnancy causes the gingiva to swell and bleed more easily in most women.
As all trimesters are important for the development of the fetus, pregnancy gingivitis typically peaks during the third trimester. Some research has also indicated a link between pregnancy gingivitis and low birth weight or premature labor.
Women who have gingivitis before pregnancy are more prone during pregnancy. This information helps your dental team to provide you the best treatment possible during your pregnancy which is why it is highly recommended to have dental hygiene visits every 3 to 4 months.
Now while hygiene visits are acceptable throughout pregnancy, it is advised not to have x-rays and all other type of dental treatments unless an emergency calls for it, in which speak to your dentist to advise you of your best options if you are in pain or any discomfort.
After pregnancy it may take some time for your body, your oral health to adjust again – be patient; you may need to maintain hygiene visits every 3-4 months moving forward – your dental hygienist will help you!
Suffering from morning sickness?
- Change to a bland-tasting toothpaste during pregnancy.
- It is still recommended to use a fluoridated toothpaste to help prevent acidic erosion from foods/drinks, vomiting and demineralization of enamel.
- A product that could be beneficial is MI Paste is a non-fluoridated toothpaste that consists of calcium phosphate which is safe during pregnancy. This paste is quick and easy to use and also helps greatly with sensitivity, remineralization of enamel, acid reflux/heart burn (helps ‘coat’ the esophagus – safe to swallow), dry mouth and much more.
- Rinse your mouth out with water or a mouth rinse if you suffer from morning sickness and have bouts of frequent vomiting.
- Rinsing with saltwater (ie, 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water) may help with the tissue irritation for the gingivitis.
- Pure xylitol products have been proven to help reduce the Ph Balance of the oral cavity. Studies have shown for it to be safe during pregnancy and your children.
Eating Right for Your Teeth and Baby
- Avoid sugary snacks. Sweet cravings are common during pregnancy. However, keep in mind that the more frequently you snack, the greater the chance of developing tooth decay.
- The ‘acid attack’ is what I like to call it! SUGAR = ACID! It comes in all forms!!! It is not just candy, pop, juice that can cause dental issues. Coffee, tea, carbohydrates (ie: fruits & vegetables – tomatoes) that are acidic.
- Rinse/swish with water after meals
- Chew or eat a piece of xylitol gum or mint
- Apply a little MI paste to your teeth
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Your baby’s first teeth begin to develop about three months into pregnancy. Healthy diets containing dairy products, cheese, and yogurt are a good source of these essential minerals and are good for baby’s developing teeth, gums, and bones.
Thank you Sima for the great article!
Kelly, S & O xo