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Oral Health Complications During Pregnancy
Recent findings have reported that oral bacteria and their by-products can possibly pass the placental barrier keeping oral health at prime importance during pregnancy. An awareness related to oral health during pregnancy cannot be neglected or avoided in order to minimize the complications.
This article focuses on few points related to the necessity of oral health during pregnancy.
Pregnancy comes with many responsibilities making expecting mothers more concerned about their health. However, many pregnant women may not be aware of oral health and its effect on the developing child. Negligence of oral health is quite common during pregnancy due to lack of alertness of oral hygiene and its effect on systemic health.
Moreover, pregnancy discomforts like frequent bouts of nausea, increased physical demands, weight gain or certain dental problems like pregnancy gingivitis or inflammation of gums may be dangerous to developing fetus.
Risk of oral problems during pregnancy:-
Few common oral problems associated with pregnancy are as follows.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy leads to pregnancy gingivitis. It is a condition of bleeding gums, redness. Moreover inflammation, swelling and tenderness are also observed. Ignorance of such problems may lead to serious gum disease. Frequent cleaning can avoid such dental issues. Progesterone levels are elevated during pregnancy which stimulates the production of prostaglandins and leads to inflammation of blood vessels in gums.
Diet during pregnancy is of high importance. It is designed to nourish both mother and unborn baby. Diet rich in carbohydrates actually increases the risk of tooth decay. The morning sickness increases acid secretion in the mouth which is harmful to enamel.
Overgrowth of tissue on gums in pregnant women are called as pregnancy tumors. They are noncancerous and generally observed in the second trimester of the gestation period. It is nothing but swollen gums between teeth. The bleeding and reddening of gums observed in such conditions.
Periodontal disease and preterm birth:
Untreated gum disease or periodontal problems can development periodontitis characterized by inflammation and infection of the gums and supporting structures of the teeth.
This ultimately leads to loss of supporting material and finally the teeth themselves.
A study result has revealed that there is a relation between preterm birth and presence of gum diseases in the pregnant women. The reason is not yet known.
However, research study findings have evidence that oral bacteria or their byproducts can pass placental barrier. This initiate inflammatory response leading to preterm birth.
Another correlation exists between the gum disease and the increased rate of pre-eclampsia, a condition of high blood pressure during pregnancy. The positive correlation suggests that gum disease may cause stress to the blood vessels of the mother, placenta and the fetus.
The basic periodontal therapies like oral hygiene instructions, scaling, root planing and prophylaxis can substantially decrease the level of prostaglandin responsible for inflammatory response.
The regular treatment and follow-up in pregnant women can maintain good oral health and minimize the risk of preterm birth.
Dental treatment during pregnancy:
The dental procedures mostly include the use of X-rays and use of anesthesia. In the case of pregnancy, these procedures can be used with precaution.
Therefore, before sitting on dental chair patient should declare her pregnancy to the physician. Untreated dental infections can harm fetus as well as the mother.
The emergency situations request use of dental radiographs which can’t wait. The radiation of dental x-ray is generally very low and precaution is always taken for lowest radiation exposure. A leaded apron including collar, shields can be used to prevent abdominal exposure to the x-ray radiation.
Use of dental X-ray is not at all contraindicated in pregnancy when used with precaution.
The use of local anesthesia is also not contraindicated in the pregnancy.
A clinical trial result showed that there is no harm in the use of local anesthetics during pregnancy. It is not linked with increased risk for major medical problems like cerebral palsy, cleft lip and heart defect in newborns.
The medication prescribed during dental treatment mainly includes local anesthetics, analgesics, and antibiotics. Most of them can be used with safety precautions. Each drug has its own pregnancy category which should be considered during its use.
The antibiotic like tetracycline can permanently cause discoloration of developing teeth.
Dentists can educate patients with following points to avoid problems associated with oral hygiene.
- The patient should declare the pregnancy to the Dentist
- Follow routine oral checkup.
- Undergo all elective and emergency procedures.
- Follow good oral hygiene practice ask for a better toothpaste.
- In the case of morning sickness avoid sweets and snacks which increase the risk of tooth decay.
- Have healthy and balanced diet.
Awareness of oral health during pregnancy is a must to avoid complications.
My tooth gums are reducing rapidly. Should I go for periodontal flap surgery? I'm in confusion as my another dentist says the surgery has post surgery problems.
On March 3, I suddenly had mouth ulcer (may be due to fish bone). Then the doctor gave antibiotic for it. And after 2 days I had chill shiver and the next I had body rash covering my chest at ist and den face back and abdomen and hand and also legs and itchy rash with swollen lymph nodes near my ear. The swollen became normal within a week. From then I used to feel tired at times I used to have muscle twitched with localised body heats in different parts. Then I had pain in my muscles and joint which now became normal. And I have thus often, tightness feel in throat which goes away. But one thing was common, the tiredness, its always the same till now with muscle pain near the top right and left corners of my chest. In bright sunlight I have blurry visions. I showed doctor twice and and had to do cbc test, RA, widal test, urine test, hepatitis test which all came normal. All tests was done 4 months ago. Recently I did ANA test which came 1: 64 as negative. I just do not know why this malaise is not going.
My teeth become yellowish & sometimes bad breath is also there. I brushed 2 times every day what should I do.?
Hi I have 2, 3 ulcers (chala) in my mouth for 1 week I am taking one becosules capsule daily in the morning but it is not getting reduced I am drinking lot of water, lassi, etc etc Still ulcer is getting big What should I do? Should I take 2 capsules or anything else?
Hello Sir, My mouth is not open properly due to chewing habits. Kindly give us important tips for mouth open.
Drinks such as regular soda, diet soda, sports drinks, canned iced tea and lemonades can lead to extensive tooth decay, enamel destruction and poor dental health because of the low pH or acidity of the drinks.
Enamel is the hardest substance in the body but it is susceptible to breakdown from acids found in soda/drinks. The more acidic the drink (the lower its pH), the more rapid the enamel destruction. Tooth enamel dissolves below 5.5. It is important to note that exposed root surfaces demineralize twice as fast as that of enamel.
Soda/drinks may contain carbonic, phosphoric, malic, citric and tartaric acids and therefore have an acidic pH. No differences in enamel breakdown were found between regular and diet versions of the same brand.
Reduce the Risk
1 Drink carbonated beverages (soft drinks, soda pop) in moderation.
2 Give infants and toddlers these beverages in a regular cup.
3 Sucking on a bottle or sippy cup filled with these beverages promotes tooth decay.
4 Use a straw to help keep sugar away from your teeth while drinking.
5 Choose fluoridated water instead of fizzy drinks.
6 Avoid drinking soft drinks and fruit juice before bedtime.
7 Rinse your mouth with water or brush your teeth soon after using either of these.
8 Get regular dental checkups and cleanings
Acid (pH) Low=Bad
Water – 7.00 (neutral)
Brewed Black Coffee – 6.25
Brewed Black Tea – 5.36
A & W Root Beer – 4.80
Diet Sprite – 3.34
Sprite – 3.27
Diet Dew – 3.27
Diet Coke – 3.22
Mountain Dew – 3.14
Gatorade – 2.95
Canada Dry Ginger Ale – 2.94
Diet Pepsi – 2.94
Arizona Iced Tea – 2.94
True Lemon – 2.80
HI Punch – 2.82
Coke – 2.48
Pepsi – 2.46
Dental sealants act as a barrier to prevent cavities. They are a plastic material usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars) where decay occurs most often.
Thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth. But toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract food and plaque. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by 'sealing out' plaque and food.
Sealants are easy for your dentist to apply. The sealant is painted onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. This plastic resin bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of back teeth.
The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and may last several years before a reapplication is needed.
During your regular dental visits, your dentist will check the condition of the sealants and reapply them when necessary.
The likelihood of developing pit and fissure decay begins early in life, so children and teenagers are obvious candidates. But adults can benefit from sealants as well.