Eating for healthy gums & teeth during pregnancy

Abstract: Many expecting and breastfeeding mothers experience dental problems. Higher nutrient requirements and carbohydrate intake, along with small, more frequent meals, increases gum problems and tooth decay. These dental infections can lead to other health problems, including a low birth weight and premature birth.

Maintaining good oral hygiene during the pregnancy is important, and can prevent health problems for mother and baby well into the future. A balanced diet and supplements are also important in maintaining oral hygiene.

You may not want to think about it, a mini-ecosystem of bacteria, fungi, yeasts and viruses reside in our mouths [3]. Normally they do not cause much harm, but changes in our diet, oral hygiene, immunity and general health can change the make up of this mini-ecosystem, and lead to dental infection of our teeth (tooth decay) and/or gums (periodontal diseases like gingivitis) [6].

Many expecting mothers experience dental problems like sore, bleeding gums, a loose and/or aching tooth, and a worsening of tooth decay [1]. There are several reasons for these problems. During pregnancy, your body undergoes enormous hormonal changes, including an increase in female sex hormones such as estrogen [11]. Estrogen helps to maintain pregnancy and the growth of your unborn baby, but high estrogen can also encourage the bacteria that live in your mouth to flourish, which can lead to swollen, reddish, and bleeding gums [3]. Add to this the tendency for pregnant mothers to eat more carbohydrates, usually as small frequent meals, encourages the build up of acidity, creating the perfect environment for tooth decay [3,5].

Unfortunately, our health problems don’t stop there. Added to the tooth decay and bleeding gums, dental infections can also lead to other health problems, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and lung infection [1,3,4,11]. This is perhaps not surprising, because bacteria infecting your teeth and gums can gain entry and spread to other parts of your body, and your unborn baby, through you. In fact, dental infections have been associated with problems such as low birth weight and babies born prematurely, both of which continue to be a major cause of infant death and health problems [8,9,11]. So dental problems don’t just affect your gums and teeth. Dental problems can have major health consequences for you and your child.

So, what can we do?

There’s not much we can do about the hormonal changes during pregnancy – after all, they are there to support our developing baby. But there are things we can control. For starters, we must make sure that we maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing our teeth daily, and perhaps schedule a dental check-up sometime during the pregnancy [3,12]. Good oral hygiene not only discourages nasty bacteria from flourishing in the first place, but can save us and our baby from a lot of health problems in the future [6].

We can minimise our dental problems by following a healthy and well-balanced diet. Often, our dental health is a reflection of our general health, because the cells that line the inside of our mouths and gums require a constant supply of nutrients to support their rapid renewal. Poor nutrition leads to the breakdown of the structure of these cells, enabling the bacteria to cause harm [5].

Key nutrients required for good dental health include [1,2,5,10]:
• Complex carbohydrates (rice, pasta, potatoes, bread) to provide energy for maintaining and renewing your gums and teeth
• Protein, which provides the building blocks for healthy cells
• Vitamin C, required to maintain cell integrity
• Calcium and vitamin D, needed for strong healthy teeth and gums

Keep in mind that good nutrition is all about balance. For instance, carbohydrates can actually cause tooth decay because it is a source of energy for us as well as for bacteria, so make sure you include some dairy food (especially cheese), and foods that contain a group of chemicals called sugar alcohols (such as bananas, oats, corn cobs, strawberries, and xylitol chewing gum [7]) in most meals, as they can prevent decay [5]. But this may not be enough. Eating calcium rich foods may not do you much good unless you have enough vitamin D and magnesium to assist you in utilising the calcium [2,5,12].

Getting enough nutrients is usually not a problem for most people. However, our requirements for nearly all nutrients go up dramatically during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and diet alone is not enough to support that need [10,12]. That’s when health products like PM Procare can help.

PM Procare is scientifically formulated to meet our increasing nutritional needs before, during and after pregnancy. PM Procare contains vitamins C and D, calcium, and magnesium to help keep your gum and teeth problems at bay during pregnancy. What’s more, PM Procare also contains omega-3 oils (DHA and EPA), folate, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, E, beta-carotenes; and other minerals: iron, zinc, and iodine – which are essential for your health, and the health of your baby, assisting bone and teeth formation. Effectively, you have the nutrients you and your baby require in one convenient capsule.

PM Procare is a product of PharmaMetics. At PharmaMetics, we are committed to provide quality products that will benefit the health and well-being of you and your child. PM Procare is manufactured in Australia from quality ingredients according to Good Manufacturing Practice guidelines. Both the raw materials and the final product undergo rigorous testing to ensure that they meet quality standards. PM Procare is listed with the Australian Therapeutics Goods Administration, one of the strictest health authorities in the world. These procedures ensure that all PM products are of the highest quality, and have a scientifically proven basis to support your health.

Now that you’ve learned more about the importance of dental care during pregnancy, why not start paying attention to your nutrition and develop good oral hygiene habits if you haven’t already done so. After all, good dental care is more than saving ourselves from unnecessary pain and discomfort (not to mention those unpleasant and costly visits to the dentist), but will also have long-term health benefits for you and your baby.

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