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A complete guide to oral care during pregnancy.

A complete guide to oral care during pregnancy.

Pregnancy is a very exciting time for all of us, especially if it’s our first. We take extra care to go through all the pregnancy and health related information available in books, apps and websites. Because we have very little idea about what is going on with our bodies, we listen and follow all the instructions our doctors give us.
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But, you just neglected one really important thing, YOUR MOUTH.
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Being a periodontist, I see a lot of cases of pregnant females complaining of sudden gum swelling and bleeding on brushing.
During pregnancy there are a number of hormonal changes going on in the body which puts our body at risk for several dental problems.
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1) Studies say that approximately 40 percent of pregnant females have some or the other form of gum disease.
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2) The hormonal changes in the body makes our gums more sensitive to the bacteria in the oral cavity. Pregnancy gingivitis is a gum disease where the gums get swollen and inflamed and bleed on brushing. Routine professional checkup and scaling of teeth is advised every 6 months and before a pregnancy is planned to avoid the occurance of pregnancy gingivitis.
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3) Pregnancy tumour is another, relatively rare, painless condition of the gums. It is a localised swelling and can be pink, purple or red in colour.
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4) Pericoronitis or swelling of gums around a wisdom tooth which has not erupted completely is another condition I commonly see in my clinic. It leads to difficulty in mouth opening, swelling and dull pain around the area. It is always best to get impacted wisdom teeth extracted before a female plans to conceive. Removal of wisdom tooth can be a tricky process and would save an unnecessary surgical procedure if problem arises during pregnancy.
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5) For those who get frequent episodes of morning sickness, the stomach acids can damage your teeth and make them prone to decay. It is advised to rinse mouth with water or a flouride based rinse after every episode to prevent this from happening
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Why is dental and gum disease bad for your baby?

There is abundant evidence in the scientific literature which confirms that the diseased teeth and gum tissues release harmful substances in your body which reach the baby through the bloodstream and can cause growth retardation, low birth weight and preterm delivery. Periodontal and gum disease increase the risk of a preterm, liw birth weight baby by 7 times.
So, this gives you all the more reason to visit your dentist and get all the problems fixed before you are planning to conceive.
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Is it safe to undergo dental treatment during pregnancy?

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Your OB-GYN may not mention it, but you still need to visit your dentist for a regular check up and cleaning.
Always let your dentist know that you are pregnant and if you are experiencing any problems in your gums.
According the American Dental Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women should get the dental care they need during pregnancy.

Routine procedures can easily be performed during pregnancy. The safest time to undergo dental procedure is in the second trimester of pregnancy, from the 3rd to 6 th month.
Special precaution will be taken by your dentist which includes clearance from your OB-GYN, your posture on the dental chair, protection to the abdomen and throat ( for thyroid) in case an x ray in needed and the medicines you will be prescribed.
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What can I do to prevent gum diseases in pregnancy?

Make sure you maintain your oral health during and after pregnancy.
Book an appointment with your dentist right away to set up a customised treatment plan for you, if necessary.
Getting regular cleanings is a vital part of maintaining good oral health during pregnancy.
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I tried to cover the most frequently asked questions related to pregnancy and oral health in this blogpost. If there’s any other information you need, feel free to ask in comments or DM me on my Instagram account.

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