It is such a miraculous phenomenon to carry a baby in the womb and bring it to life. The pregnancy process can take too much if not all of your attention, trying to make everything turn out perfectly. While it is perfectly alright to be mindful of your pregnancy and your unborn child, it cannot be at the expense of your own health.
Many mothers often neglect their health to focus on their children, especially regarding oral health. Unfortunately, if you are pregnant, neglecting your oral health can potentially affect your child’s health during and after pregnancy.
Understanding Oral Health During Pregnancy
Although your oral health should be important to you at all times, you must be keener when you get pregnant. Pregnancy puts a strain on your entire body, not leaving behind your oral health. Some of the factors that perfectly explain the relationship between pregnancy and declined oral health are:
- Fatigue – pregnancy increases fatigue throughout your body. The feeling of tiredness is enough to deter you from keeping on with regular oral habits like dental hygiene, necessary for oral care. As such, you may neglect to brush and floss your teeth daily.
- Hormonal changes – there is a significant fluctuation of hormones in your body during pregnancy. The hormonal changes can lead to pregnancy gingivitis, which begins with inflammation, redness, and irritation in the gum tissue. Unfortunately, many people downplay gum disease in its early stages, allowing it to advance to a worse state called periodontitis. If you do not visit a Robbinsville dentist to treat your infection, you may prove statistics right when you experience a preterm delivery or have a low birth weight baby due to gingivitis.
- Morning sickness – acidity from the stomach comes up when you vomit. With morning sickness, the repeated exposure of your mouth to stomach acids can cause enamel to wear down. Such weak tooth enamel has an increased risk of dental cavities, not to mention, dentin hypersensitivity.
- Snacking and eating – when pregnant, your appetite is likely to increase tremendously, encouraging you to eat more than usual. Besides, snacking in between meals is common among pregnant women. The danger is that such eating continually exposes your teeth to acids in foods while increasing the production of acid-loving bacteria in your mouth.
- Vitamins – during pregnancy, your doctor may recommend certain vitamins to help you remain healthy for the sake of your health and that of your unborn child. However, some chewy vitamins stick on teeth after taking them. If you are not careful to brush your teeth after taking the vitamins, the sugars in them can increase your risk of dental cavities.
Can Your Oral Health Affect Your Unborn Child’s Health?
Studies continue to explore the relationship between oral health and pregnancies. So far, medical experts have determined that a woman’s oral health can affect the unborn child in the following aspects:
- Premature labor – an infection in your mouth, particularly the soft tissues, can travel into your bloodstream to the uterus. When it reaches the uterus, it can stimulate the production of prostaglandins, chemicals typically linked to inducing labor.
- Vertical transmission of bacteria – during birth, a mother can transmit acid-loving bacteria to the newborn child, increasing the risk of future dental infections. The infections may cause early dental caries in infants, necessitating multiple costly restorative dental protocols at Mercer Smiles Family Dentistry.
How to Optimize Dental Health When Pregnant
Although you will be making multiple other sacrifices for your child’s wellbeing, you cannot do it at the expense of your health. Remaining healthy is the best sacrifice you can give your child, ensuring you are available to cater to any other needs they may have. Some of the ways to optimally care for your oral health are:
- Keep up with your dental hygiene routine – brush your teeth at least twice and floss daily.
- Drink a lot of water – it will help wash down some of the acidity present in your mouth.
- Eat healthily – even when snacking, opt for healthy foods like fruits and vegetables.
Visit a dentist regularly – routine dental exams and cleanings will incredibly benefit your oral health. Besides, your dentist will detect any oral problems early, treating them before they potentially advance into complicated health issues.