Tips for oral hygiene during pregnancy
Pregnancy is one of the most important phases of a woman’s life and not to mention the most stressful. But did you know that maintaining good oral hygiene is as important as taking good care of your overall health?
Read on to learn more about the top dental care tips every mom-to-be should know, in order to maintain good oral health before, during and after pregnancy!
There are several hormonal changes in your body during pregnancy which may increase the risk of gum disease (pregnancy gingivitis) which in turn might affect the health of your baby.
Studies suggest that pregnant women with pregnancy gingivitis are more likely to deliver premature and low-weight babies when compared to others.
- Visit the dentist: “Prevention is better than cure,” like in most of the cases. It is advisable to have your teeth checked and cleaned by a dentist if you are planning to get pregnant. Many dentists would also recommend you to get your dental work done (if required), before you get pregnant.
- Good oral hygiene: As most of the symptoms during pregnancy are accountable to hormonal changes, gingivitis is much more aggravated at this stage and thus maintenance of good oral hygiene is an added responsibility.
- Avoid dental treatment: The best time to plan or undergo any dental treatment (if necessary) during pregnancy, is the second trimester. Generally, any form of dental treatment should be avoided during the first trimester and last half of third trimester, if your dentist does not specify an immediate need for it. As most dental treatments are planned (or elective procedures), you can also push it for a post-delivery month.
- Avoid x-rays: Avoid dental X-rays while you are pregnant. Though dental x-rays are doable with appropriate protective measures, (reduction in exposure time) with advances in technology, it is still better to avoid exposure to radiation as much as possible. But if you happen to get a dental x-ray taken during pregnancy, the dentist would typically ensure that you have a proper lead apron cover.
- Don’t skin dental appointments: Maintenance of good oral hygiene should be like a religious ritual when you are pregnant. With the hormonal changes during pregnancy, you are more prone to conditions like pregnancy gingivitis, which increases your chances of having periodontal disease. So, ensure that you do not skip your dental cleaning appointments in this phase (pregnancy). Also, pay particular attention to your gums and look out for swelling, bleeding or tenderness of gums. If present, consult a dentist or periodontist immediately.
- Night brushing: Night brushing is one of the best gifts you can give to your teeth and it should be a mandatory ritual (as important as consuming your healthy food and supplements) in your daily routine while pregnant. Also, flossing should be done twice or thrice a week, to enhance good oral hygiene.
- Rinsing mouth: At times, you might be nauseous, especially during the first trimester. Ensure that you rinse your mouth thoroughly with water or mouth rinse every time you throw up (vomiting), so that all the acidic substance is washed out properly, even from the surfaces of the teeth.
Written by Dr Neha Sarda, Aesthetic Dentist
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