Why is Maintaining Dental Health during Pregnancy Important?

During pregnancy, the hormones of pregnant women will change. This can affect the health of your teeth and mouth, your risk of developing gingivitis or gum disease and periodontitis, or infection of the bone that supports your teeth.

Dental and oral health in pregnant women is an important part of prenatal care (prenatal care). This is because poor oral and dental health will have negative effects on pregnant women and fetuses.

Here are some reasons why pregnant women should take good care of their teeth and mouth.

1. Pregnant women can experience periodontitis

The Importance of Maintaining Dental Health during Pregnancy, Impacts on Babies!toothache illustration (pixabay.com/Engin_Akyurt)

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 60–75 percent of pregnant women experience gingivitis or inflammation of the gums.

Gingivitis is an early stage of periodontal disease, which occurs when the gums become red and swollen due to inflammation and are exacerbated by hormonal changes in pregnant women.

If gingivitis is not treated, over time it will affect the bone that supports the teeth and can further cause the gums to become infected.

Teeth that have little bone support can become loose, and eventually have to be extracted.

2. Pregnant women are prone to cavities

The Importance of Maintaining Dental Health during Pregnancy, Impacts on Babies!illustration of routine check up to the dentist (unsplash.com/lafayett zapata montero)

Pregnant women are at risk for cavities due to changes in behavior, such as eating habits. If there are a lot of bacteria that cause cavities in pregnant women, after giving birth, the mother can transmit the bacteria to her child.

The children of mothers who had high rates of cavities or missing untreated teeth were more than three times more likely to develop cavities as children.

Also Read: 8 Common Factors That Cause False Positives on Pregnancy Tests

3. Factors that affect the decline in dental health in pregnant women

The Importance of Maintaining Dental Health during Pregnancy, Impacts on Babies!illustration of holding a toothbrush and aligner (unsplash.com/Diana Polekhina)

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The decline in dental and oral health in pregnant women can be caused by several factors, such as:

  • During the first month of pregnancy, pregnant women will show a preference for foods, especially those containing carbohydrates. If pregnant women neglect to clean their teeth, then they can be at risk of developing dental problems.
  • The effects of hormones can cause pregnant women to bleed and avoid brushing teeth to prevent bleeding gums. As a result, dental plaque builds up and this can lead to oral problems.
  • Vomiting, especially during the first months of pregnancy, increases the acidic environment in the mouth due to exposure to stomach acid and can weaken the tooth surface due to demineralization. This can lead to a higher risk of tooth decay and tooth erosion. Morning sickness during pregnancy can expose the teeth to stomach acid and weaken the tooth surface by degrading the minerals in the teeth. This puts pregnant women at a higher risk of tooth decay and tooth erosion.
  • Decreased saliva flow. For this reason, caries formation increases during this period.

4. Tips for taking care of teeth for pregnant women

The Importance of Maintaining Dental Health during Pregnancy, Impacts on Babies!illustration of brushing teeth (pixabay.com/slavoljubovski)

To avoid dental and oral problems in pregnant women, pregnant women must maintain proper dental and oral health as follows:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day for at least 2 minutes using a soft toothbrush and fluoride-containing toothpaste. Don’t forget to change your toothbrush every 3-4 months or if the bristles look damaged.
  • It is recommended to clean teeth with dental floss (dental floss) to clean the dirt that the toothbrush cannot reach.
  • Use mouthwash after brushing your teeth or consult a dentist.
  • Check your dental health with your primary dentist in the first trimester of pregnancy.
  • If pregnant women vomit, gargle with water afterward and wait at least 30 minutes to reduce the acid in the mouth. And, don’t forget to brush your teeth.

5. Nutritious food intake for pregnant women

The Importance of Maintaining Dental Health during Pregnancy, Impacts on Babies!illustration of vegetables (unsplash.com/Maarten van den Heuvel)

Adequate food intake with balanced nutrition is certainly important. Not only for pregnant women, but also for the fetus.

During pregnancy, pregnant women must meet the needs of calcium. The recommendation ranges from 1,200-1,500 mg of calcium per day. Why is calcium important? This is because calcium is needed for the development of strong bones and baby teeth.

If the diet of pregnant women is low in calcium, then the mother’s body will take calcium from the mother’s bones and blood for the baby. If the calcium in the body is low, then the calcium in the saliva is also low.

The calcium in saliva helps remineralize tooth enamel when it has been demineralized by acids. Therefore, make sure pregnant women and their babies have enough calcium so as not to harm the bones and teeth of pregnant women. Calcium intake can be obtained from calcium supplements, milk, dairy products, green vegetables, and others.

In addition, the diet of pregnant women must also contain protein, vitamins A, C, D, and phosphorus. Giving supplements containing folic acid and iron also helps pregnancy health.

It’s good to limit foods and drinks that contain artificial sweeteners. Also limit sweet and sticky snacks that are high in carbohydrates and sugar to avoid the formation of dental plaque which can cause cavities and gum disease.

During pregnancy, pregnant women must maintain the best possible health, including oral health. This is important so that the fetus can also grow and be born healthy too.

Brush your teeth regularly, don’t forget to clean your teeth with dental floss, apply a balanced nutritious healthy diet, and don’t forget to check your teeth and mouth at the dentist. For pregnant women who are reading this, stay healthy always, okay!

Also read: 7 Benefits of Drinking Coconut Water for Pregnant Women and Fetus

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