Pregnancy and Oral Health

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Pregnancy and Oral Health

Pregnancy affects almost every aspect of a woman's life, including her oral health. Good oral and dental care during pregnancy is extremely important.

During this time, the gums are supplied with more blood and are more sensitive, and the connective tissue also loosens. If the oral cavity is not properly cared for, bacteria can easily cause inflammation of the gums (gingivitis). If left untreated, the disease can lead to inflammation of the teeth (periodontitis), in which the jawbone and the supporting fibers in the roots are also affected by the inflammation. The body reacts to the problems and produces certain messenger substances that can also have negative effects on the uterus. This significantly increases the risk of premature birth.

It is therefore advisable to have a check-up at the dentist. Possible illnesses can then be treated in good time, and professional teeth cleaning may also be required. Adequate oral hygiene should be observed during pregnancy. The teeth should be brushed thoroughly and a special brush or floss should be used to clean the spaces between the teeth. A balanced diet without sweets with foods such as cheese, fresh fruits, or vegetables is also recommended.

If possible, a check-up should be done in the first few months after conception. The doctor must be informed about the pregnancy, because certain examination methods or treatments may then no longer be carried out.

Common oral diseases in pregnancy

Below is some general advice and common medical conditions that you can use to minimize or look out for during pregnancy:

  • Gum Disease - Teeth and gums need special attention during pregnancy. Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once a day, eating a balanced diet, and visiting the dentist regularly can prevent dental problems during pregnancy.
  • Tooth Enamel Erosion - Some women experience severe morning sickness during pregnancy. The nausea is accompanied by extra acid that can damage your teeth if left in your mouth. Rinse your mouth with water or a fluoride-based mouth rinse to give your teeth additional protection against acid attacks
  • Dry mouth - Dry mouth during pregnancy is associated with a higher risk of problems such as tooth decay or infection. Drink enough water and chew sugar-free gum to stimulate salivation.

Periodontal disease - alarm in the body

Periodontitis begins with the formation of plaque on the teeth. If this plaque is not removed carefully and regularly, tartar forms from it, which irritates the gums and leads to inflammation. The result: the gums redden, swell and bleed when you brush your teeth. The mild form of gum disease is called gingivitis. It can be completely cured by carefully and regularly removing all plaque. If the inflammation spreads further, periodontitis develops. With periodontitis, bacteria and bacterial metabolic products enter the bloodstream and are distributed throughout the body. As a result, they can favor diseases such as heart attacks and diabetes.

Increased risk for pregnant women

Gingivitis and periodontal disease are infectious diseases that can lead to complications during pregnancy. Pregnant women and women who want to have children should therefore pay particular attention to their oral health. Periodontitis can increase the risk of premature birth. To avoid dental problems during pregnancy, a combination of prevention and, if necessary, early treatment of periodontitis is recommended. The earlier periodontitis is recognized and treated, the better the chances of recovery.

In summary, follow these six steps for good oral health:

  • If you are planning a pregnancy, go to the dentist in good time before the start of pregnancy for a check-up - especially the gums and the periodontal structures. If you have an inflammation of the gums, it is advisable to treat it before the start of pregnancy. Periodontitis increases the risk of premature babies with low birth weight.
  • Even if you are already pregnant, a dental check-up is advisable. Have your teeth cleaned and checked. Necessary treatments should then be postponed to the second trimester of pregnancy. This includes the treatment of gum disease as well as any necessary caries therapy. Some dentists work on the principle of "full mouth disinfection". This means that the amount of germs in the mouth is reduced to the lowest possible level so that, for example, caries germs are not transmitted from the mother to the child after delivery. In this context, it is understandable why the father or other future caregivers should also have a healthy oral cavity with as few germs as possible. they should also go to the dentist.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day. Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day. Use a soft toothbrush. Always place the bristles of the toothbrush in the transition area between teeth and gums. This is where gum disease starts first.
  • Use dental floss every day to clean the spaces between your teeth where the toothbrush can't go.
  • Limit the number of sugary or starchy snacks per day. Sweet or starchy snacks between meals can lead to "acid attacks" which are triggered by plaque bacteria. These acid attacks can then lead to tooth decay. Also, watch out for sugary drinks.
  • Take advantage of the preventive check-up for pregnant women. Follow your gynecologist's advice. Take mineral and vitamin supplements as this is important for your health and that of your baby.

Take regular preventive care seriously

Regular professional teeth cleaning is important to prevent periodontal diseases. You should have your teeth cleaned in the dental office at least twice a year. Even if you brush your teeth very carefully, some places are difficult to get to yourself. 

Bacteria can multiply there unhindered. Pregnant women are recommended by many gynecologists and dentists to have dental checks and professional teeth cleaning two to three times during pregnancy.

A clean toothbrush is important

Besides, one should also remember that bacteria settle on toothbrushes. Re-infections with bacteria can occur again and again. Prevent and disinfect your toothbrush and interdental brushes regularly. This is easy and uncomplicated, for example with a disinfecting spray such as anti-infect dental spray.

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