By: Dr. Zev Mickler, DMD
Pregnancy can have a number of unpleasant side effects, and one of the lesser-known phenomena associated with pregnancy is a deterioration in dental health. In this article, we will address a number of factors that contribute to this deterioration, and provide some tips for preventing it.
First of all, the sudden weight gain of pregnancy puts pressure on the core muscles that support posture. If the weight gain is significant, it can put extra stress on the spine and can cause distortions and movement in the vertebrae, including those of the neck. As a result, there may be a disruption in the balance of the jawbone, and that can put an unusual amount of pressure on the teeth.
The pressure itself can cause trauma and is considered one of the main causes of caries, tooth decay, tooth movement and gingivitis. Some women report that they had straight teeth before the pregnancy, but that during pregnancy and after the birth, their teeth moved.
Another factor is diet. In pregnancy it is especially important to avoid milk and wheat products as well as sweet drinks and processed foods. It was previously believed that milk products are an important source of calcium and protein, but these products cause an increase in sugar levels in the body in general and in the mouth in particular. This contributes to weight gain and poor health in the mouth and the entire digestive system, because it increases the presence of pathological bacteria, which feed on sugar. Milk also significantly raises the insulin and sugar levels in the body, and it thickens the saliva, which disrupts the natural cleaning mechanism of the teeth.
Tips for Preventing Dental Health Issues During Pregnancy
Make sure to get your exercise and keep your core muscles (back, abdomen, glutes, and thighs) good and strong. This not only helps avoid excessive weight gain, it helps distribute the extra weight from the baby better and takes pressure off your spine, therefore preventing the aforementioned skeletal changes.
Follow a healthy diet and avoid dairy and wheat products.
Visit your dentist regularly during and before pregnancy.
Practice good dental hygiene as directed by your dentist or oral hygienist.
Rinse with salt water daily.
Use a fluoride-free toothpaste.
Pregnancy can create a lot of stress in the body. Just like you prepare ahead of time for any extreme situation, preparing your body and your teeth for pregnancy can help you avoid unnecessary health problems.
Dr. Zev Mickler is a dentist with over 18 years of experience. His clinic in Jerusalem offers a range of professional, friendly and pain-free dental care utilizing the latest technology, as well as 24-hour availability to treat emergencies. For more information or to book an appointment, call 02-624-8177.