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Why is dental healthcare such an issue for pregnant women?

Dental health care is a significant component of a healthy pregnancy. Many pregnant women are prone to cavities and gum diseases. Lack of proper oral hygiene routine during pregnancy does not only affect the mother but also the baby. Almost 60 to 75% of pregnant women suffer from gingivitis which is usually characterized by inflamed and swollen gums which is normally intensified by hormonal changes during pregnancy. In case the condition is not rectified on time, it could lead to gum infection and loss of teeth. Oral health problems could also result in poor pregnancy results such as low birth weight and preterm birth. Although dental care is crucial for everyone’s overall health, it is particularly important for pregnant women because it does not only affect pregnant women alone but also their unborn babies.

Tips for healthy teeth and gums

Most pregnancies are characterized by vomiting, morning sicknesses, and acid reflux. These problems aggravate tooth erosion. The pregnant women should make it a habit of rinsing their teeth after vomiting with a mouth rinse or water. It is also advisable to chew sugar-free gums because it stimulates saliva which helps in washing away and neutralizing the acid. One should also smear some toothpaste over the teeth with the help of their finger then wait for about 30 minutes before brushing to reduce the risk of damaging the surface of their softened enamel. A pregnant woman should refrain from eating a lot of sweet food but instead, increase their calcium consumption. It is also important to increase the intake of lean meats, fruits, grains, vegetables, and beans.

Good oral hygiene routine

Teeth should be brushed twice a day for about 3 minutes. The toothbrush bristles must be placed at 45 degrees to the gum line. It is also advisable to drink plenty of fluoridated tap water. Flossing should be done regularly. It is critical to note that when using a toothbrush, 40 percent of the teeth surface is left untouched. Pregnant women should consider making frequent visits to their dentists for early detection and treatment of pregnancy gingivitis.

Benefits of good oral hygiene

Pregnancies alter the eating habits which conversely increase the risk for cavities. Women with cavity-causing bacteria during and after their delivery have a high likelihood of transmitting the bacteria to their babies. It has been found out that 1 in every 4 women pregnant women have untreated cavities. The children born by women with high tooth loss levels and untreated cavities are 3 times more likely to suffer from cavities in their childhood ages. These children are 3 times more likely to miss school due to dental pain. Therefore, it is critical to provide pregnant women with information concerning the importance of good oral health for the general wellbeing of their pregnancies and the future of their unborn babies.

Oral health problems

Pregnant women experience immense changes during pregnancies. The changes increase their risk for numerous dental problems such as cavities, gingivitis, loose teeth, periodontal disease, and pregnancy tumors. Cavities cause damages to the surface of their teeth. Gingivitis is characterized by swelling and redness of the gums. Some of the visible symptoms of gingivitis are:

  • Swelling and redness of the gum
  • Gum tenderness.
  • Bleeding of the gums.
  • Shiny gums.

The high-level estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy results in teeth loss. Periodontal disease results whenever gingivitis remains untreated for a long time. The problems are characterized by infections to the gums, as well as, the bones supporting the teeth. Finally, the pregnancy tumors are characterized by lumps on the gum between teeth. The tumors appear raw and red and bleed easily. Excessive plaque on the pregnant woman’s teeth results in pregnancy tumors.

Citation

https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/publications/features/pregnancy-and-oral-health.html

https://www.dhsv.org.au/dental-health/general-dental-advice/pregnant-women

https://www.dentistryiq.com/dental-hygiene/article/16363325/tips-for-healthy-oral-hygiene-during-pregnancy

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6883753/