Pregnancy is a special moment in a woman’s life. A period characterized by great emotions but also by complex physiological changes that can affect the health of the mother and the unborn child. Optimal conditions of the woman’s mouth and teeth during the waiting period are, in fact, fundamental both for the best outcome of the pregnancy and for the oral health of the unborn child (even in adult life).
This is confirmed by some studies that reveal an association between gum infections of the mother and some complications during the growth of the fetus. The important changes that the mother’s body undergoes during the waiting period also affect the mouth and teeth.
The first rule to follow is certainly related to a correct nutritional intake. In this period, in fact, the optimal diet should contain all the nutritional principles: proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, mineral salts, sugars, fats and fibres.
It can happen that pregnant women sometimes feel the need to make a run for food that they had never considered before, the important thing is not to exaggerate and try to avoid the more caloric and less useful products such as sweets and condiments too fat. In particular, sugars are also harmful to the teeth.
PREGNANT TEETH: HOW AND WHY TO TAKE CARE OF THEM
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR TEETH DURING PREGNANCY? WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
As we have already said, during the nine months of waiting, the woman is facing numerous hormonal changes that also affect the immune response. All this favours gum disease, which in this period takes on a different colour from pale pink to dark pink, and sometimes is even more swollen, causing minor discomfort.
Diseases such as periodontitis can occur or worsen: an inflammation of the periodontal tissues (those that guarantee the attack of the teeth and the integrity of the tissues involved in chewing), causing a slight detachment of the teeth from the alveolus, the cavity that contains the dental element. The consequences can be: dental mobility, gum bleeding, abscesses and suppurations.
Around the third month, in particular, many women contract another type of inflammation of the gums, called “epulide gravidica” or “granuloma piogenico”, which leads to the formation of small excrescences that disappear after childbirth.
In addition, certain conditions such as hyperemesis in pregnancy or oesophageal reflux disease, which causes very frequent vomiting and nausea, can cause enamel erosion and dental caries. In these cases, it is advisable to rinse the mouth with water and bicarbonate to neutralize the acidity of the oral environment.
4 RULES TO FOLLOW FOR HEALTHY TEETH DURING PREGNANCY
- Pay close attention to oral hygiene with the daily use of toothbrush and toothpaste after each meal;
- During the first trimester, ask your dentist for a checkup;
- Limit the frequency of sugar intake, especially after a meal;
- Consult the dentist at the first symptoms of discomfort to the gums or teeth, so that it is possible to intervene as early as possible.
WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR YOUR CHILD’S TEETH?
The first milk teeth begin to form in the 4th month of pregnancy. For snacks to become visible, it will be necessary to wait until the 6th month of life. During pregnancy, however, a lot can be done for the health of the baby’s teeth, for example:
Follow a diet as varied as possible, taking care to consume foods that contain calcium, such as milk and cheese.
In the recent past there has been a lot of insistence on the administration of fluoride in pregnancy, in the hypothesis that this in turn could “strengthen” the first milk teeth that develop already from 6 months of pregnancy. The use of fluoride, recommended in general and in this circumstance, has been disputed by several parties, especially for any side effects during pregnancy and throughout life. Therefore, it is no longer recommended as much as the calcium mentioned above.
THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH
Recognising the importance of prevention with regard to the oral health of pregnant women, the Ministry of Health has also taken action, drawing up a series of guidelines aimed at improving the condition of the mouth and teeth during pregnancy. Based on scientific evidence, these indications have been collected in a single document: Recommendations for the promotion of oral health in the perinatal age.
And you, do you think you take enough care of your teeth during pregnancy? For our part, the recommendations are never enough, the advice is not to underestimate the risks and, knowing well the costs of dental services in Italy, consider the insurance policies dedicated to dental care.