July 18, 2024

Deepika Padukone’s recent pregnancy photographs have garnered much attention, with many marvelling at her radiant appearance and her million-dollar smile. Many people wonder how she makes the journey look so easy and how she manages to remain so vibrant. However, beyond the glamour, it’s important to remember the dedication required to stay healthy during pregnancy. This includes maintaining good oral health, which is often overlooked but crucial for both mother and baby.

In an interaction with the OnlyMyHealth team, Dr Kamlesh Kothari, Dental Implant Specialist, Cosmetic Dentist, and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Kolkata, says, “Neglecting gum health during pregnancy can lead to complications, such as premature birth and low birth weight.” He highlights that taking care of one’s oral health while expecting a child goes beyond just having a radiant smile; it plays a pivotal role in ensuring the well-being of both you and your baby.

Let’s delve deeper into the topic and understand why oral health during pregnancy is so critical.

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Oral Health Problems During Pregnancy

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, physical changes during pregnancy may also lead to changes in the oral cavity. These include pregnancy gingivitis, benign oral gingival lesions, tooth mobility, tooth erosion, dental caries, and periodontitis.

Approximately 40% of pregnant women have some form of periodontal disease, the health body adds.

Dr Kothari attributes these oral health problems to the pregnancy hormones that can make gums more vulnerable to inflammation and infection.

He also warns against the development of pregnancy tumours in the gums, which are non-cancerous growths that can appear during the second trimester. Also known as pyogenic granulomas, they’re usually red, inflamed, and bleed easily. While harmless, they can be uncomfortable.

Why Poor Oral Hygiene May Be Problematic

In general, oral diseases affect nearly 350 crore people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Poor oral hygiene is one of the many modifiable risk factors for oral diseases, which primarily includes not brushing or flossing regularly.

Dr Kothari says, “Skipping flossing and brushing is like inviting microorganisms to have a full-on party in your mouth. This can lead to periodontal diseases, which can not only destroy the bone supporting your teeth but can potentially be linked to other health problems.”

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Tips To Maintain Oral Health During Pregnancy

Sharing a few practical strategies to maintain oral health during pregnancy, Dr Kothari lists:

  • Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily.
  • Schedule regular check-ups and cleanings with a dentist.
  • Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, dairy, and lean proteins.
  • Limit sugary snacks to keep tooth decay at bay.
  • Rinse with water in situations of morning sickness and vomiting; this helps neutralise the acidity and protect your enamel.
  • Consider using a fluoride mouthwash or gel as recommended by your dentist to add an extra layer of protection against cavities.

Post-Pregnancy Oral Care

After childbirth, mothers should continue maintaining good oral health by continuing proper oral hygiene practices.

Dr Kothari says, “Stick to the brushing, flossing, and rinsing habits established during pregnancy to sustain oral health. Postpartum dental visits are a must. Schedule a dental appointment to address any postponed treatments and ensure optimal oral health. Maintain healthy habits while breastfeeding, stay hydrated, and maintain a balanced diet to support maternal and infant oral health. Be mindful of post-delivery hormonal shifts that may impact oral health. Regularly check gum health and address any concerns promptly with your dentist.”

By incorporating these suggestions into a holistic oral care routine, the doctor believes that expecting mothers and new moms can prioritise their oral health throughout the dynamic phases of pregnancy and beyond.

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