Due to Chronic Nasal Obstruction (CNO), many of us are forced to breathe through the mouth. It may not even seem like that big of a deal, but mouth breathing can cause some serious oral health and facial development problems, especially in children. If you are not yet aware if you are a mouth breather, look for signs such as dry lips, chronic bad breath, airway infections, like sinus, ear, and colds, and crowded teeth. Breathing through the nose ensures the air is filtered, warmed and moistened before it reaches our lungs. However, when breathing through the mouth, we are forced to take in cold, dry, and unpolluted air that can result in an excessively dry mouth. Under this condition, the saliva production is impeded, unable to wash bacteria and other acidic properties of food left behind. This results in the bacterial build-up, eventually wearing down the enamel and making room for cavities and tooth decay. Dry mouth is also one of the causes of gum disease, a serious oral health problem that not only affects the mouth but can be responsible for overall health issues, like stroke, child conception, and delivery issues, heart disease, and heart attacks. This happens when bacteria from the affected gums enter the bloodstream through excessive gum bleeding. Humans are designed to breathe through their noses, but when they try breathing out of their mouths, their posture changes to keep the airway open. This may cause developmental problems, especially in children, who if left undiagnosed and untreated, can fall prey to a long and narrow face, flat nose and small nostrils, and thin pouty lips. It also promotes the growth of the upper jaw rather than the lower jaw, resulting in a gummy smile and large overbite. Treating the problem as soon as it emerges is best to avoid long-term health problems. Keep your mouth hydrated with lots of fluid, and rubbing a little vitamin E oil on your gums will keep them from drying. Meet with your dentist and get a thorough dental exam to help you pick the problem and correct it before it worsens.
First of all, congratulations on this thrilling and hustling time of your life! Dealing with so many things at a time, don’t be negligent towards your oral health because all the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can make dental problems far worse. Not only do these problems affect the mouth but can eventually cause problems with delivery and the baby’s overall health, even after birth.
Some effective dental tips to follow during pregnancy
Now that you are fully attentive (and a little scared), read on for some effective dental tips to follow during pregnancy:
Eating Right for your Teeth and the Baby
Sugar cravings are common during pregnancy, but be smart enough to avoid sweet snacks, as sugar is the biggest contributor to bacterial build-up, leading to enamel erosion and tooth decay. Consume lots of dairy products, like cheese, yogurt, and milk, to get sufficient calcium for the baby’s growing teeth and bones. Snack mostly on fruits and vegetables, especially on detergent foods like apples, celery sticks and carrots that naturally clean the teeth. Maintain a balanced diet, consisting of meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans.
Don’t skip your Dental appointments just because you are Pregnant
Now more than ever, regular gum (periodontal) exams are extremely important since hormonal changes can make the gums bleed. If the bleeding continues, it can eventually enter the bloodstream with the bacteria and can cause heart problems. Tell your dentist about the medication you are taking, including vitamins and any specific advice your doctor has given you. Ask if any changes should be made to your dental treatment plan.
Coping with morning sickness
If you have a case of extreme morning sickness that prevents you from using flavored toothpaste, switch to a bland one, preferably recommended by your dentist. Make good use of a mouthwash or mix a spoonful of baking soda with water and drink up to stop your stomach’s acid from eroding your teeth. Follow proper oral hygiene by brushing and flossing twice, every day, and stay away from cavity-affected people as they can be contagious.
Follow these tips and you will get through pregnancy with your dental health intact.