Pregnancy Dental care: Healthy foods to eat for strong teeth

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Moms-to-be have to be prepared for a plethora of bodily changes that occur as the pregnancy progresses. While the emphasis is always on ensuring that you consume a balanced and nutritious diet and stick to your prenatal workout regime without fail, your dental health, meanwhile, tends to take a back seat.

Even if you brush your teeth twice a day or use fluoride toothpaste as recommended, there might still be one thing that can affect your dental health—food. While pregnancy cravings are quite normal and indulging in your favourite foods once in a while means no harm, satisfying your sweet tooth can pave the way for pregnancy gingivitis or other oral health issues.

Let’s look at what causes dental problems during pregnancy, and which foods can help keep dental problems that women commonly experience during pregnancy at bay.

Dental problems during pregnancy - how to tackle them?

The sudden hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause your gums to become inflamed and even cause bleeding at times. Pregnancy gingivitis is quite common during this period, and if left unchecked, it can lead to periodontitis. Also, skipping your night-time brushing routine due to exhaustion can contribute to dental health problems such as tooth decay, enamel erosion, etc.1

If brushing your teeth has become a tedious task, you can try Oral-B iO 8 Ultimate Clean Electric Toothbrush. This electric toothbrush is equipped with six smart modes that personalise your brushing experience, and the Smart Pressure Sensor turns red if you are brushing too hard and green when the pressure is just right. Moreover, the Artificial Intelligence Brushing Recognition enables 3D tracking that monitors your brushing and guides you to cover all your teeth, so you don’t miss a spot! Armed with the right toothbrush, you can still get a clean and fresh mouthfeel minus the tediousness.

Food tips to deal with common dental issues experienced during pregnancy

Your pregnancy dental care measures aren’t simply about brushing your teeth or flossing before bedtime. It should also include adding foods to your diet that can help protect your teeth from conditions such as pregnancy gingivitis, tooth pain or decay. Let’s look at common oral health issues that occur during pregnancy and which foods can help you keep these conditions in check.

Foods that help prevent tooth decay

Tooth pain in pregnancy can be traced back to extra snacking that’s an indispensable part of a pregnant woman’s journey. Binging on foods high in sugar or carbs can increase the risk of tooth decay. Ensure that you choose healthy foods that can satisfy your taste buds without harming your pearly whites. You don’t wish to add plaque and tooth pain to your list of pregnancy discomforts, do you? An effective home remedy for toothache during pregnancy would be to consume the right food. This list can include:

  • Apples:

    Fruits are highly nutritious and completely natural, which is why they are perfect for snacking. If you are craving something sweet, instead of eating a cookie or cake, have an apple instead. The fruit’s natural sugar satisfies your sweet tooth and provides calcium, protein, and fibre. You can combine it with some cheese to make it more interesting.

  • Unsweetened yoghurt:

    Yoghurt is an excellent snack as it is rich in calcium, probiotics, and protein. In short, it has everything an expectant mother would need. Moreover, there are so many different flavours for you to choose from, but make sure that you don’t add sugar to it.

  • Nuts and seeds:

    Nuts and seeds are highly nutritious and do not cause pregnancy gingivitis. They are rich in protein, healthy fats, vitamin E, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Also, you can carry these around easily and they are filling as well.

Foods that help prevent Enamel erosion

Enamel erosion is quite common during pregnancy owing to the frequent morning sickness or gastric reflux you tend to experience. The stomach acid coats your teeth when you have reflux, causing dental erosion and increasing the risk of tooth decay by dissolving the tooth enamel. To avoid enamel erosion, you can have:

  • Milk: Milk and other dairy products can soothe your stomach and neutralise the acid that causes enamel erosion.

  • Bananas: Bananas make for an ideal pregnancy snack if you suffer from morning sickness. They are low-acidic foods and go easy on the stomach. Moreover, they are packed with energy and replace the potassium you lose when you vomit.

  • Sugarless gum: Another way to prevent enamel erosion is to chew sugarless gum. It increases saliva production and neutralises acid in the mouth and throat.

Foods that help fight Gum disease

Gum pain during pregnancy or gingivitis are common during this period. Your body undergoes hormonal changes which can cause swelling in the gums as well. So, the onus lies in eating nutrient-dense foods that boost your immune system and do not irritate the inflamed gums. The list of food items includes:

  • Broccoli: In the list of foods to eat during pregnancy, do not leave out broccoli, sweet potatoes, and kale. These foods contain beta carotene, which is converted into vitamin A by the body.

  • Fruits rich in vitamin C: Add fruits such as strawberries, oranges, and kiwis, that are rich in vitamin C to your diet. These fruits strengthen blood vessels, boost immunity, and encourage the production of collagen which is vital for your gum health.

  • Inflammation-reducing foods: Foods that are rich in omega-3, such as Brussel sprouts, tofu, or nuts and seeds, can help your body manage the inflammation better.

Pregnancy brings about a lot of changes in your body, both pleasant and unpleasant. While your primary focus would be your baby’s well-being, do not neglect your health. Brush twice a day, floss regularly with Oral-B Essential Mint Dental Floss that’s meant for hard-to-reach places, and ensure that you keep your dentist’s appointment without fail. A few healthy adjustments from your end can reduce the chances of any oral health-related issues. If you continue to experience tooth or gum-related problems, you can always visit your dentist. Dental treatments during pregnancy can offer immediate relief and put an end to your dental woes, thereby reducing the overall discomfort you might experience.

Frequently-Asked Questions

  1. Can pregnancy cause teeth damage?

    Pregnancy does not directly damage your teeth. However, the changing hormonal levels can affect the gums and teeth, often causing gum disease or tooth decay. Do not hesitate to seek dental treatment during pregnancy as timely treatment can prevent tooth loss as well.

  2. How to strengthen teeth during pregnancy?

    The changes your body undergoes during pregnancy can cause some dental problems. This is why you need to ensure that your teeth can withstand these changes. Brush twice a day, use fluoride toothpaste, floss between your teeth daily, consume a balanced diet, and be regular for your dentist’s appointment.

  3. Which home remedy can help reduce tooth pain during pregnancy?

    Tooth pain in pregnancy is not unheard of. You can experience immediate respite with this home remedy: swish warm, salty water (add 1 teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water) around your mouth. Swish the mixture a few times, and then spit it out. This might help with the inflammation.