Gestational diabetes, or temporary diabetes developed around the 24th week of pregnancy, puts both mother and baby at a higher risk of developing diabetes at a later stage in life. During this period, high sugar levels in the blood can increase the expectant mother’s risk of developing oral infections, gum diseases, tooth decay, dry mouth and fungal infections. Diabetes can also impair blood flow and may lead to poor healing of oral tissues after an oral surgery or a dental procedure.
If you are an expectant mother, here are a few tips to help you avoid oral problems during pregnancy:
Practice good oral hygiene. Expectant mothers should be more careful than before about their oral hygiene and ensure they brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss every night.
Avoid or reduce intake of sugary food. A healthy and well balanced diet is very advantageous to an expectant mother so this is the time to focus on healthy food like fruits and vegetables. Avoid sugary foods as these can cause plaque formation and lead to gum diseases. It is also a good idea to avoid acidic food that may erode the enamel causing tooth sensitivity. Replace carbonated drinks with water.
Rinse the mouth after eating or vomiting. It is a good practice to rinse the mouth thoroughly after consuming food or sugary drinks as this washes away the food particles and sugars that tend to stick to the teeth. Chewing sugarless gum after eating food helps to further clean the teeth and prevent cavities. Expectant mothers who vomit a lot should rinse their mouths with a fluoride mouthwash to reduce the acidity.
Make regular dental visits. Visiting the dentist during pregnancy is a good idea as early detection of oral issues can ensure timely treatment.
Get dental treatment before you plan on becoming pregnant. Ideally, it is better to get all dental issues treated before pregnancy to reduce the discomfort to an expectant mother or the harmful effects of dental treatments on the fetus.
Avoid smoking and drinking. Expectant mothers should avoid smoking and alcohol consumption as these are deadly tooth traps and can also affect the growth of the fetus.
Pregnancy is a joyful time and focusing on your oral health in tandem with your overall health ensures that you stay healthy and your baby is born healthy. In addition, both expectant mothers and diabetics are encouraged to check their dental benefits to see if their insurance covers a third cleaning.