According to a study conducted by the American professor, Stefanie Russell, and published on the website “American Journal of Public Health”, women who give birth to more children will most likely suffer from dental loss. According to this author, the hormonal changes that appear during pregnancy can affect every tissue and organ in the human body.
How can pregnancy affect oral health?
Further research is needed to corroborate how gum diseases may affect pregnancy. However, apparently gum diseases raise the biological fluid level that induces childbirth. Other data suggests that if the gum disease worsens during pregnancy, it will increase the chances of a premature childbirth. During pregnancy, teeth will need special attention. A healthy balanced diet and regular dental appointments will help to reduce the dental problems that may arise during pregnancy. The widely spread belief that calcium will be collected from the mother’s teeth during the baby’s bone formation is quite wrong. Tooth decay that occurs during or after pregnancy might have been there before without being detected or treated. Furthermore, hormonal changes may cause metabolism and salivation alterations.
What oral problems may appear ?
Research has shown that pregnant women may have pregnancy gingivitis – when there is a build-up of plaque and, subsequently, gum inflammation. The symptoms include reddish gums with swelling and bleeding. A small tumour known as a pregnancy tumour can also appear. Pregnancy gingivitis occurs more frequently due to a hormonal level increase, causing a reaction in the gums to inflammatory elements of the bacterial plaque. Nevertheless, the main cause of gingivitis is the bacterial plaque and not the hormones.
At this time, there is a tendency for gum bleeding, higher probability for inflammation, bad breath, and tooth decay.
Keeping your teeth clean, particularly near the gum line, will help to drastically reduce gingivitis .
Dentists appointments during pregnancy
It is very important to inform your dentist about your pregnancy. Even during normal times, it is recommended to schedule an appointment with your dentist between the fourth and sixth month of pregnancy. The first three months are extremely important for baby development. In the last quarter of pregnancy, the stress associated with dentist appointments may increase the incidence of prenatal complications. If you need an urgent appointment, please inform us in advance about your pregnancy in order to gather together the appropriate experts and equipment. Describe your stress, previous complications, and inform us about the medication you are taking. This information is essential and will influence your dentist’s approach. In some cases, the dentist may need to speak directly with your obstetrician before starting dental treatments.
There are no contraindications for dental treatments , however, the treatments should be simple. There are special anaesthetics without blood vessel constriction for pregnant women. Scaling and Root Planing is one of the important treatments for pregnant women as it contributes to her oral health.
Treatments that should be avoided during pregnancy
- The dentist will avoid complex dental treatments.
- X-rays will also be avoided. However, the dentist can cover your abdomen with a lead apron to protect you from the radiation. In some emergency cases, it could be absolutely necessary.
- Teeth whitening should be avoided due to its active ingredient, carbamide peroxide.
How to care about your oral health during pregnancy
Health care should be enhanced. Teeth brushing should be frequent and using dental floss and mouthwash is essential. The toothpaste should have fluoride.
The diet should be balanced, healthy and varied. Vitamins A, C, and D should be a part of your diet as well as protein, calcium, and phosphorus. Sweets should be avoided.
You should quit smoking. Your doctor can help you with that issue. There are various medications available at pharmacies and several treatments to quit smoking in specialised clinics. Some people use acupuncture. In pregnant smokers, there is a risk of premature childbirth and babies that are underweight.
Although some treatments may be recommended, other complex procedures should be avoided during this period. In the case of dental implants, pregnant women should wait until the baby is born, as they will have more availability both in terms of time and mental space.