Pregnancy is a glorious time for most women, even if it is one of the hardest times of their life due to things like morning sickness, pregnancy aches and pains, strange food cravings, and weird feelings in other parts of their body. What other parts of the body are affected, one would ask? Well, teeth, strangely enough is a major area. Our teeth, pregnant or not, are the major cornerstone of good or bad health in a woman. But when she is pregnant, tooth hygiene is even more important. Due to hormonal changes, her gums could become more sensitive and she could be experiencing all kinds of discomfort if she does not take good care of them.
Most women don’t even think to get a dental evaluation before conceiving, but it is as important as a regular health checkup. The mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body in terms of physical health. If there are cavities, infections, or any kind of discomfort in the mouth, it could make its way into the body and bloodstream. Therefore, it is very dangerous to let our dental hygiene fall by the wayside at any time. During pregnancy, when even a healthy woman’s body will have its up and down days, a healthy mouth will mean a healthier mother and baby. So what are women waiting for? It’s time to get that clean bill of dental health. On that note, here are 7 Ways that Dental Health Affects Pregnancy and 7 Ways that Pregnancy Affects Dental Health.
7 Ways Dental Health Affects Pregnancy:
14 Big Baby Risk
As was mentioned in the introduction, the mouth is a passageway to the body of all that is healthy and unhealthy. By that logic, any kind of infection in the mouth would compound and endanger Mom and baby more. An otherwise healthy Mom who did not take care of her dental health needs could develop anything from gestational diabetes, which is too high a sugar count in the bloodstream, to delivering a baby prematurely or preterm, or delivering a low birth weight baby.
In any of these circumstances, baby’s health would be compromised physically and psychologically. They would develop either physical health issues themselves, learning and developmental issues, and not be as strong due to having issues when they were inside their mothers. Other attachment issues or behavior problems could also form. Therefore, Mom taking care of her own health is important for the whole family.
13 Taking It Out On The Teeth
Teeth grinding is something that affects a lot of people. It is due to stress and anxiety, and once the habit is formed it could be challenging to break. It is not impossible to do so, however. The only thing is that it has its challenges. Still, it is very important that Mom-to-be tries to break this habit now while she is pregnant. It will not only cause her the usual discomforts, but it can affect her with more headaches and earaches from the pressure of the teeth grinding down on the gums.
In turn, the headaches and earaches would also affect a pregnant Mom’s state of mind and ability to cope with other pregnancy difficulties so it is good if she broke this habit now so her pregnancy could go that much more smoothly and easily. There are many unpredictable things that happen in pregnancy, so whatever Moms can control are a good thing to making the pregnancy go as smoothly as possible.
12 Not Keeping Up
A pregnant woman is sometimes plagued with a dry mouth, also known as ecrostomia. This is due to hormonal changes in the body. It is not pleasant of course, but there are many things she could do to not experience this. Drinking lemonade will help reduce the metal taste in the mouth. Sucking on ice chips will also help moisten the mouth and curb morning sickness nausea. Some people swear by always having a water bottle nearby and drinking from it, and others say to try coconut milk which is apparently something that could help in handling dehydration.
A humidifier is also something that a lot of women use to help with that feeling of dryness. All in all though, a dry mouth is something that plagues women if they are not taking care of their oral health adequately. Once she has a few ideas of what she can do, she can begin to tackle the problem more easily.
11 Bleeding Gums
Bleeding gums are caused by something called pregnancy gingivitis, which is when there is an inflammation in the mouth due to rising hormonal levels and changes to the body chemistry. It is usually due to poor food choices or a bad diet. The good news is that most of this is preventable with eating a good diet, exercising and taking care of one’s overall health. Pregnancy gingivitis can be reversed with good brushing and flossing, and there is always a chance that things can turn around if the woman begins to start taking care of her physical health.
Some women are prone to this kind of temporary gum disease where gums are red, tender and sore. With more frequent cleanings, the risk off gingitivis doing more mouth damage would be avoided. A woman wants to avoid more serious gum disease that could lead to even more dental problems.
10 Even Unborn Babies Have Dental Health
If Mom has tooth decay due to a poor diet, baby’s chances of developing tooth decay or being born with it are greater. Remember, everything that Mom does for better or worse is passed down to baby. Though much genetically is out of her control, a good diet, exercise and being in great general health can really make a huge difference in the way baby develops. Baby’s teeth begin to develop about three months into the pregnancy. This is when it is crucial that Moms avoid sugary snacks.
Try going for sweet snacks that are healthy like most fruits. Things like dairy products, cheese, and yogurt are good choices for healthy development of baby’s tenth, gums and his/her bones. Mom wants to ensure that baby stays healthy in and out of utero. Having good dental habits will benefit baby and Mom when baby is inside her belly then when he/she will be born.
9 Brushing And Flossing Needs
It is very important that Mom brushes and flosses every day to keep her body in tip top shape. Her good dental habits, as previously mentioned, will translate into good dental habits for baby. What happens in the mouth travels down into the rest of the body and the bloodstream. Any kind of dental infection or problem Mom has will affect baby’s developing body and brain, especially as they are in the growing phase during the first few months of pregnancy.
Mom’s tenth will also feel stronger and less sensitive if she is brushing and flossing regularly and it will be one less issue to worry about, cavities or sore teeth. All in all, good dental health is something crucial to Mom’s overall health in other areas so it is important that she maintain that. She will see that just like being a good healthy weight, having good strong teeth and gums will ensure that she can handle the other pregnancy changes better.
8 One More Appointment
Eating well is also another important way to maintain great dental health prior to conceiving. How does a woman know if her mouth is baby-ready, so to speak? Well, having regular dental checkups as well as a full scale examination PRIOR to conception, would be the best way for her to see if her mouth and body are in good shape for a baby. Don’t forget that if she needs medical treatments or has other health issues this will affect how her body does during pregnancy.
That is why it is crucial and a better idea that she finds out prior to getting pregnant what health issues she needs to tackle to have as healthy a pregnancy as possible. She may have to do minor dental surgeries or treatments. These could be risky for baby, so better to get them done if she can before she is carrying a baby. All will be better off afterwards.
7 One More Reason To Hate Morning Sickness
Another important thing that happens in pregnancy is unfortunately not a good one. Morning sickness with vomiting plagues a lot of women. Besides the obvious gross out factor of it and the unpleasantness of it, another dangerous thing about vomiting is that it could erode the enamel on a woman’s teeth. This in turn could cause tooth decay, and damage to the tooth in the form of a cavity or other gum issues.
The best solution is to use a mouth rinse or wash after each brushing to ensure that film or deposit is not left on teeth. There are many brands on the market that are milder and there are different flavors so a woman should not be worried about experimenting to help herself be as comfortable as possible within her pregnancy. If she is in any doubt, she may ask her dentist or her obstetrician or other medical care professionals for their opinion on what is the best flavor and brand.
6 Rethinking Certain Cleaners
If a woman is on certain antibiotics for any kind of mouth infections or infections in the gum, as well as for any other health issues, this could seriously affect her pregnancy and her pregnancy outcome. That is why it is important to disclose immediately to the dentist when she is pregnant so that alterations in the medication schedule can be made. There will not be any unnecessary risks to the baby, but if Mom-to-be needs to take medication for a serious dental issue, different options will be given so that the woman and her future baby can best be served.
It is important that everyone stays healthy or as healthy as possible. A dentist will also need to have on hand any other types of medication that the woman has been on so that he/she could make the best decision with her other medical professionals what is best to do in the overall scheme of things.
5 Effects Of Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins are often recommended to be taken even when women are trying to conceive. However, at the very least most obstetricians recommend prenatal vitamin use during the pregnancy, particularly in the first three months when major developmental changes are happening and the fetus and future baby is forming. Not all prenatal vitamins are created equal. A woman’s doctor will let her know what is the best brand for her and how much of a dose she needs to be taking to ensure optimal health for her and her baby.
There is such a thing as taking too high a dose of prenatal vitamins which can have negative effects on the woman and her baby. That is why like everything else, she needs to ask the necessary questions, make sure that her doctor knows her health history, and then the right decision will be made for her and her baby.
4 More Pregnancy Symptoms
Gingivitis is something that is not fun and is downright dangerous if it does not get treated early. It can lead to loss of actual tenth as they fall out of the infected gums. Treated early on though and she will be able to save her teeth. Pregnancy gingivitis, however, is something that is often really temporary as it only happens when she is pregnant.
It is usually reversed afterwards and she will not lose tenth, but the bleeding gums and suffering that ensues is not fun. That is why taking good care of teeth prior to pregnancy and then in the early stages can eliminate this problem often completely. If she is eating a healthy diet and exercising, as well as avoiding stress the odds are good to avoid this. If she does experience it, getting help early on from her dentist and treating it will mean she will get the problem fixed.
3 X-Ray Liberation
Xrays are obviously not something fun that any of us like to do unless absolutely necessary. However, when one is pregnant, it is even less so as X-rays have been shown to be extremely dangerous for the unborn baby. That is why as soon as a woman knows she is pregnant or even thinks she may be, it is important to tell her dentist. Many dentists will also check with younger women whenever they have to perform any X-rays if she is indeed pregnant. Sometimes it cannot be helped and X-rays must be taken.
In those instances, extreme precautions are taken to ensure that very little touches anywhere on the stomach, so there is as little risk as possible to the developing baby. Most of the time, X-rays will be flat out eliminated due to dentists or technicians not wanting to take any risks if they don’t have to .
2 Oh The Selection!
Sometimes a thing like using a more bland toothpaste could also make a HUGE difference. She may not want to gag all the time on the strong mint flavor or whatever else flavor she is using. Remember, gagging can bring her back to vomiting and the problems it causes on teeth and gums. Here as well as with mouth wash, her best bet is to ask her dentist or obstetrician for what are the best toothpaste brands for nauseous pregnant women who would really like to keep their meal down.
This is something she probably has not ever experienced before; this intense daily aversion to smells. Pregnancy has a way of doing that because it is just that powerful. All the hormones working together to bring that human being into the world can drive us crazy in other ways for sure.
1 Even Gums Will Be More Sensitive
Gums are more sensitive during pregnancy. Again, it is those darn hormones. They are affecting all parts of the woman’s body, inside and out. Things are expanding and preparing for baby’s arrival. She will need to learn to take extra good care of herself with eating less sugar, less salt, getting more sleep, and partaking in mild exercise. All of this will help her and baby to be at their strongest and healthiest. This is not always easy to do. If she is being monitored by her dentist for regular dental visits during her pregnancy and regular other medial professional visits, chances are everything will go well, she will be healthy, and baby will develop in a healthy way.
Good choices the woman makes now will mean she and baby will be healthy for the rest of the pregnancy and after baby comes into the world. This will make those first few months go more smoothly for all concerned.
So there are 7 ways dental health affects pregnancy and 7 ways pregnancy dental health. The most important thing any woman can do is monitor any changes to her health during pregnancy, ask any questions about issues that concern her, and make sure to take as best care of herself as possible.
Sources: Dentist At Northgate, WebMD, HDA Online