How pregnancy affects oral health?
During pregnancy, it is the mother’s responsibility to ensure the health of herself and the baby. Sustaining daily oral care and visiting the dentist for a comprehensive periodontal evaluation during pregnancy helps lessen the chance of adverse pregnancy complications. Pregnancy can lead to several dental concerns due to hormonal change and other adjustments of body in pregnancy duration.
Increased hormone level is responsible for change in mouth during the pregnancy. Hormonal changes make the gums more susceptible to dental plaque – primary cause of gum disease. Gum disease is the most common condition with presence of symptoms such as swollen, red, sore gums. Most pregnant women may notice bleeding gums when brushing or flossing. Pregnancy gingivitis is not serious but without care and treatment solution, it may develop to periodontitis that is regarded as the cause of premature and low-weight birth. To minimize the impact of gingivitis and prevent advanced periodontitis, pregnant women should sustain proper oral hygiene practice at home and have their teeth professionally cleaned by the dentist.
When it comes to tooth decay, there are several related causes, the most primary of which is dietary choices. Unusual food cravings, unbalanced diet with too much sugary or carbohydrate food makes teeth prone to decay. In addition, morning sickness results in acid production which contributes to teeth erosion.
Some women develop what are alarmingly called “pregnancy tumors” due to hormonal changes while pregnant. Pregnancy tumors are not malignant. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the growths most often appear during the second trimester, and look like little raspberries that form between the teeth. Your dentist can remove them if they cause you discomfort, but in most cases, the tumors will vanish after your baby is born.
Special cautions for pregnant women
All medications that are not prescribed or indicated by the dentist must be avoided. You should carefully inform about your pregnancy to your dentist before any dental procedure. If your dentist needs to prescribe a medicine such as an antibiotic or a medicine for a tooth pain, he or she usually will confer with your obstetrician.
Study carried out by Journal of American Dental Association in 2015 pointed out that anesthetics causes no harm to women during pregnancy. It is safe to use anesthetics during pregnancy, as they cause no difference in the rate of miscarriages, birth defects, prematurity or weight of the baby. However, anesthetics must be indicated and applied by the dentist.
Advances in technology have made dental X-rays much safer for pregnant women. Digital X-rays use much less radiation than older systems that use dental film. However, using a lead apron will minimize the exposure to radiation, which helps protect mother and fetus