Expectant moms have a lot on their plate, but one aspect of your body that you shouldn't ignore is your dental health. The hormonal changes in the body increase the risk of contracting a number of dental infections that you need to be aware of. Here are some of the ways that pregnancy can affect your teeth and gums.
Increased risk of contracting tooth decay
Having those carbohydrate cravings can really increase your risk of cavities. The food particles may get lodged in your teeth and cause tooth decay. Additionally, morning sickness also increases the acid in your mouth, which may corrode the enamel region of your teeth.
Ensure you quickly rinse your mouth if you have morning sickness. You can add some baking soda that will neutralise the acid in your mouth. Chewing sugar-free gum also helps the mouth secrete more saliva to neutralise and wash the acid away.
In some cases, pregnancy tumours occur. These are simply tissue overgrowths that mainly appear during the second trimester of pregnancy. If you get these, don't worry, it's not cancer. The swelling normally occurs as an aftermath of having excess plaque. The pregnancy tumours easily bleed, so you need to be really careful when brushing.
You can talk to your dentist and have a safe removal of the tumours. However, these tissues normally die out once the baby is born.
The hormonal changes in the body may also lead to a condition known as pregnancy gingivitis. This manifests as an inflammation that occurs in the gums, causing them to swell and be extremely tender. If not treated, this condition can easily escalate to other serious forms of gum diseases.
Frequent cleaning of the teeth and gums can help with this. You also need to floss your teeth at least once a day to minimise it.
How to prevent such infections
Visiting a dentist and having regular dental check ups can assist you in solving or preventing these issues. However, there are a few things to have in mind when doing so.
Tell your dentist of the drugs you're using.
Give your dentist enough details of the drugs you are using. Some drugs, including pain medications and antacids, can make the mouth dry. The saliva also cleans the mouth, so lack of it increases your risk of getting infections. The dentist can advise you on the way forward if you've got such drugs.
Avoid dental x-rays.
To heal your gums, the dentist may need to x-ray you to view your gums. However, procedures that require x-rays should be avoided whenever possible. They can affect the baby negatively. If there is a need for such procedures, then ensure the dentist uses digital x-rays. They cut the amount of radiation by 90%.
Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved stories about the past. Whether the stories were about horses, wars, exploration or even dentistry, I loved to hear them. I find that knowing the history of something helps it to make sense and feel approachable. I know that some people have dental anxiety, and I too have suffered, but I also feel like the more you know about dental work and its history, the easier it is. This blog is dedicated to exploring the history of dentistry – What did ancient people use for fillings? How did early dentists numb their patients? Who was the first dentist? Those are just some of the questions I plan to answer here. Ready? Okay, let's dive into the history of dentistry together!