By: Dr. Zev Mickler, DMD
One of the lesser-known side effects associated with pregnancy is a deterioration in oral health. In this article, we will address a number of factors that contribute to this deterioration, and provide some tips for preventing it.
The sudden weight gain of pregnancy puts pressure on the core muscles that support the spine. If the weight gain is significant, it can put extra stress on the spine and 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 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. One must also pay attention to diet during pregnancy. It is especially important to avoid dairy and wheat products, as well as sweet drinks and processed foods. It was previously believed that dairy products are an important source of calcium and protein. However, these products cause an increase in sugar levels in the body in general and in the mouth in particular. They increase the presence of pathological bacteria, which feed on sugar, contributing to weight gain and poor health in the mouth and in the entire digestive system. Furthermore, milk 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 MAINTAINING ORAL HEALTH DURING PREGNANCY
1. Make sure to exercise and keep your core muscles (back, abdomen, glutes and thighs) firm and strong. This helps avoid excessive weight gain, better distributes the extra weight from the baby, and takes pressure off the spine, preventing the aforementioned skeletal changes.
2. Follow a healthy diet and avoid dairy and wheat products.
3. Visit your dentist regularly before and during pregnancy.
4. Practice good oral hygiene as directed by your dentist or oral hygienist.
5. Rinse with salt water daily.
6. Use a fluoride-free toothpaste.
Pregnancy can create a lot of stress in the body. Being aware and 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.