Pregnancy is a very important stage in the life of a woman in which there are multiple physiological changes that we must know, including hormonal changes in pregnancy that affect a woman's dental health. In the first consultation that is made with the midwife once the pregnancy is diagnosed, we always recommend a visit to the dentist, why? I tell you!
As I said, this stage involves multiple hormonal changes that can affect our dental health. The composition of saliva changes throughout pregnancy and during the lactation period, its pH becomes more acidic and salivary flow is decreased. This decrease in the amount of saliva may be associated with the appearance of a bad taste in the mouth and an increase in the difficulty of swallowing food.
In addition, the appearance of nausea and vomiting at the beginning of pregnancy is very common, approximately 75-80% of women experience these symptoms, which depending on their duration in time can lead to significant erosion of the tooth enamel.
We must also bear in mind that the increased secretion of estrogen and progesterone that occurs in pregnancy causes more blood flow to the gums, which makes them more sensitive and more likely to become swollen, red and bleeding. Is called pregnancy gingivitis and it appears in 60-75% of women between the third and eighth month of gestation. These high hormone levels also predispose to a greater presence of plaque and bacteria around the gums.
As we mentioned at the beginning, it is essential make a preventive visit to the dentist early in pregnancy, But it may happen that in this visit the dentist tells us that we need some treatment, for example, filling a cavity.
Many women go to the consultation referred by the dentist to ask us if they can undergo said treatment or better wait until the end of the pregnancy. Studies show that non-surgical treatments during pregnancy are not associated with any complications during pregnancy, in fact the benefit of repairing this damage is much greater.
In addition, it should be noted that the local anesthetic used to perform this technique is the same as the one used by midwives when we need local anesthesia in labor, for example, to suture a tear or the one used by the anesthetist when placing an epidural catheter.
But it is not enough to restore the lesions to reduce the risk of bacterial transmission to the newborn when we have high levels of cariogenic bacteria. Therefore, when this occurs, antiseptic therapy and fluoride treatment are needed.
These bacteria are transmitted from mother to child when practices involving maternal saliva are carried out, that is, when we taste the food with the same spoon as the baby or suck on the pacifier to clean it ... For all this, it is important to avoid these practices .
Also note that breast milk does not cause cavities, but that we do have to be especially careful with formula-fed babies. Sometimes we leave them alone to take the bottle and they play with it, the milk staying in their mouths for a long time and increasing the risk of cavities.
Our main objective in pregnancy is prevention, to achieve a healthy mouth, therefore we must pay special attention to oral hygiene during this period, doing a good brushing (after the main meals, but also after snacks between meals), using dental floss and fluoride or antiseptics when necessary.
Remember: good dental hygiene is essential and don't forget to make an appointment with your dentist early in your pregnancy!
Text: Diary of a midwife
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