Importance of Dental Health While Pregnant
The importance of dental health on pregnancy and even fertility cannot be overstated. Ultimately, a mother-to-be cannot have a healthy body without a healthy mouth. It’s a pretty remarkable cycle of cause-and-effect. Pregnancy affects your dental health and your dental health affects the pregnancy and your unborn baby. So how does oral health affect pregnancy and why is it even more important while pregnant or trying to conceive? The Super Dentists answer all of these questions and concerns below.
How Does Pregnancy Affect Oral Health?
Everything that happens in the mouth can affect a pregnant mother and her baby. There are a few main ways in which pregnancy affects the mother’s oral health. First, the influx and change of hormones in a pregnant woman can make gums more inflamed and subject to bleeding or infections. If left unchecked, the bacteria and infection can enter the bloodstream and ultimately reach the baby.
Secondly, those same hormones can contribute to morning (or afternoon or middle-of-the-night) sickness. The stomach acid from vomiting can weaken and erode the tooth enamel. This weakened state makes pregnant women more prone to cavities and other dental problems.
In addition, during pregnancy, your eating habits will probably change. And those changes may not necessarily be healthy choices, but rather sugary snacks (if that’s what you’re craving). Finally, those inflamed gums may increase tooth sensitivity or pain and discomfort. And let’s be honest, when you’re pregnant and something hurts, you’re less likely to do it…like brushing and flossing.
Can Gum Disease Harm My Unborn Baby?
It seems like pregnancy and oral health changes go hand in hand. But what do gum disease, pregnancy gingivitis or other dental problems mean for the baby? Poor pregnancy outcomes such as low birth weight or preterm (before 37 weeks) birth have been reported. And while these might not seem like a big deal, they can lead to complications either at birth, in infancy or even poor health later in life. Bacteria can also increase the risk of preeclampsia, diabetes and other medical conditions during pregnancy.
The good news is that maintaining good oral health while pregnant can be done pretty easily by following a few basic tips.
Tips to Maintain Oral Health During Pregnancy
Women have a lot they can do to maintain healthy teeth and gums during pregnancy, and most of it is pretty basic stuff.
- Brush your teeth regularly. Prevent gum disease by brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss once a day.
- Maintain a balanced diet. Eat a healthy assortment of foods with minimal sugar to avoid cavities.
- Check your airway and sleep. If you snore or have sleep apnea, check with your physician or airway-trained dentist to be evaluated and if necessary wear a CPAP or dental/oral devices to keep the airway open during sleeping. Sleep apnea – where breathing stops and starts as a result of airway obstruction during sleep – can have devastating effects on the health of the mother and the fetus.
- Stay hydrated. Dry mouth may increase a pregnant woman’s risk of tooth decay and infection. Drink plenty of water to prevent dry mouth. Pregnant women may also chew sugarless gum as a way to increase saliva production.
- Visit the dentist. Schedule dental appointments more frequently during pregnancy. While two-thirds of all women visit a dentist at least once a year, this figure drops to about 50% among pregnant women – despite the fact that dental visits are crucial for the well-being of a mom-to-be and her baby. Dental care, including x-rays, is safe for pregnant women.
Dental Hygiene and Fertility
There is a direct correlation between oral health and pregnancy, as well as fertility in both males and females. For men, poor oral health can reduce their sperm count and the sperm’s ability to swim. In women, bacteria triples the risk of infertility before pregnancy. The direct association between dental hygiene and fertility is just another way teeth & gum health is tied to overall well–being. From tooth infection and infertility to excessive bacteria in the mouth and other issues, The Super Dentists is here to answer all your questions about the connection between oral health, pregnancy and fertility.
The bottom line for men and women: take care of your oral health, and you’ll have a better chance to transition from a couple to a family! Questions About Tooth Infections and Infertility or Pregnancy and Oral Health? The Super Dentists is Here to Help!
Dental Care for the Whole Family
At The Super Dentists, we now see the parents of our patients. Moms- and dads-to-be – and current moms and dads – can be seen at the same time as their children to eliminate extra trips to the dentists. We provide standard dental check-ups, adult braces and other dental and orthodontic services to help parents address cavities, gingivitis and other oral health issues – all at our award-winning parent dentistry practice.
Plus, we can help women learn how to take care of their teeth and gums before and during pregnancy. And when it’s time for your baby to go to the dentist, we can help moms and dads develop and maintain good oral health habits for their children to start them on the path to healthy, beautiful smiles.
Getting your oral health in order is beneficial for your entire family – including, of course, your chances to have future family members!
Ready to set up a parent dentistry appointment with The Super Dentists? To find out more, please contact us today at 1 (855) GO SUPER, or text 1 (844) 765-1234. To discuss dental hygiene and fertility or other issues related to pregnancy, schedule an appointment.