Pregnancy causes significant bodily changes that can affect the oral he alth of the expectant mother.
Under the effect of new hormones, the latter may experience signs of fatigue, nausea and vomiting in the first trimester of her pregnancy, which generally subside thereafter. She may also have an excessive appetite for unusual foods, which increases the risk of developing cavities.
The pregnant woman should consume more protein, vitamins, minerals, calcium, phosphorus, iron and 'folic acid. It is also recommended that she take a calcium supplement, because unlike the calcium present in the teeth, the calcium in the bones can pass into the bloodstream and feed the fetus. Taking fluoride supplements is not recommended, since no beneficial effects could be felt in the mother and the fetus. Topical application of fluoride with fluoridated toothpaste is much more effective for the mother and carries less risk for the fetus.
In addition to increased appetite, hormonal changes make gum tissue susceptible to inflammation, often causing an acute gingival responsecalled pregnancy gingivitis. This situation returns to normal after childbirth.
At the beginning of pregnancy, it is recommended that pregnant women visit the dentist for teeth cleaning and scaling, and maintain excellent oral hygiene thereafter. She must notify the dentist of her condition. The latter will only take the necessary X-rays, particularly in the first trimester, because the fetus is sensitive to radiation. The other types of dental treatment will preferably be done in the second trimester of pregnancy. The local anesthesia administered during dental treatment presents no danger to the fetus, regardless of the trimester of pregnancy. However, some drugs can cause fetal malformations. It is therefore important to consult a doctor before taking any medication.
Gum disease and pregnancy
Research has linked gum disease in women to an increased risk of preterm birth. In a recent study involving 1,000 pregnant and postpartum women, those with periodontal disease were seven times more likely to give birth to a premature or low birth weight baby than those who suffered from periodontal disease. who had he althy gums. The combination of the use of alcohol and tobacco during pregnancy increases this probability by 2.5 times. Another study, still in progress,over two thousand women also found a similar increased risk.
What's the deal? Researchers believe that bacteria from diseased gums enter the bloodstream when eating or brushing teeth. These bacteria can then affect the levels of prostaglandin (or PGE2), a biological fluid naturally present in the female body. It is when the level of PGE2 rises significantly - usually in the ninth month of pregnancy - that labor begins. But in women who have severe gum disease, the level of PGE2 rises too early, triggering early labor.
Special care during pregnancy
- If you suffer from nausea and vomiting during your pregnancy, rinse your mouth or brush your teeth at more frequent intervals using a smaller toothbrush. Turning your head down over the sink while brushing will help relax your throat and allow saliva to flow outward.
- If you eat more frequently or have unusual sweet cravings, you may be at higher risk for cavities. Instead of snacking on sugary products, such as candy or cookies, include plenty of fresh raw fruits and vegetables in your diet.
- Alternatively, brush your teeth after each sweet snack.