Pregnancy can make you self-conscious and embarrass you at times. But, nothing is more embarrassing than having bad breath. Although the problem is rather common among, whether pregnant or not, you simply can’t have bad breath, can you?
Bad breath or halitosis is a condition where the breath smells foul. Bacteria comes in contact with food particles present in the mouth, and this action produces sulfur. The sulfur compounds lead to bad breath and stink up your mouth. Though bad breath during pregnancy is harmless, it is the most embarrassing condition.
What Causes Bad Breath During Pregnancy?
There are many reasons behind bad breath or halitosis:
1. Hormonal Changes:
- Bad breath is one of the common pregnancy symptoms that arise because of the fluctuating hormonal levels as your fetus develops.
- Also, the changes in the estrogen and progesterone hormones during pregnancy will increase plaque production in your teeth. The plaque contains bacteria which produces sulfur when it comes in contact with food. Increased amounts of plaque may lead to gingivitis; that may further cause infections in gum tissues.
[ Read: Gum Problems During Pregnancy ]
Lack of proper hydration is another primary cause of bad breath during pregnancy. For your body to support the growing fetus, you need to consume excess water. Lack of proper hydration leads to dry mouth, also known as xerostomia. You have to drink more water so that the saliva washes odor-emitting bacteria and leftover food particles. Bacteria cannot survive in an oxygen-rich environment, and as saliva is oxygen-rich, it helps to control bad breath.
3. Morning Sickness:
More than 50% of pregnant women experience morning sickness in between sixth to 12th weeks of pregnancy. It involves vomiting and nausea which can be a significant cause of bad breath. The foul smell of partially digested foods and stomach acids expel through the mouth causing bad breath. It is advisable to brush your teeth and clean your mouth after vomiting to remove the bacteria and bad odor.
4. Calcium Deficiencies:
You may need extra amounts of calcium during pregnancy for supporting your body and your fetus. If you do not take enough calcium, your body may use calcium from teeth and bones, deteriorating your teeth. It will, therefore, cause bad breath.
5. Lifestyle Changes:
The changes in your lifestyle that you go through during pregnancy could cause bad breath. Eating more than usual, eating sugary snacks and late night food cravings may cause plaque build up. You should practice a superior oral hygiene and take care of all your bad eating habits.
Foods like raw onion and garlic enter the bloodstream after the digestion process is complete. These foods contain strong-smelling compounds, which affect the breath via lungs. Coffee can also cause bad breath when pregnant.
7. Medical Conditions:
During pregnancy, some diseases can increase the risk of bad breath. If you suffer from health issues such as diabetes, digestive problems, throat infections, kidney problems, sinusitis and lung problems, then you are susceptible to halitosis during pregnancy.
8. Slow Digestion:
Your digestion process may slow down tremendously during pregnancy. The gas built up in the stomach gets relieved through burping, leading to bad breath.
Symptoms Of Bad Breath (Halitosis) During Pregnancy:
You may have bad breath and not know it. It is fairly common. Here, we list some common symptoms of halitosis to help you determine if you have or are at a risk of bad breath.
- A lingering bitter taste in your mouth
- Dry mouth
- Thick coating on your tongue
- Discomfort in the throat
- Plaque buildup
How To Get Rid Of Bad Breath During Pregnancy?
Some remedies help you to get rid of the bad breath during pregnancy. They are as follows –
1. Maintain Oral Hygeine:
Oral hygiene is very important during pregnancy. If you feel you are breathing out bad odor, you should brush and floss your teeth more often. Use a toothbrush that has soft bristles and brush twice a day. Also, clean your tongue thoroughly with a soft tongue scraper. It eliminates the food particles that are stuck on the tongue.
Dental problems affect the developing fetus. Research studies reveal that gum diseases increase the risk of premature babies and underweight babies.
[ Read: Hygiene Tips To Follow During Pregnancy ]
2. Do Not Eat Strong Smelling Foods:
Avoid eating strong-smelling foods like onions and garlic as they lead to bad breath. Also, cut the intake of tea and coffee. Even if you take tea or coffee in moderate amounts, rinse your mouth properly.
Also, foods that may not be the suspects for bad breath may cause trouble during pregnancy. You should maintain a list of problem-causing foods. Some meat products and spices also cause bad breath while pregnant.
3. Regular Dental Checkups:
Check with a dentist often to rule out any chances of dental caries and tooth decay. You should go for an oral examination during the early pregnancy stages to stay away from any complications to the mother and fetus.
[ Read: How Much Water To Drink During Pregnancy ]
4. Include Calcium Foods:
Deficiency in calcium may destroy the teeth and lead to dental caries. Pregnant women should take calcium rich foods like milk. Also, you can include calcium supplements for extra intake.
5. Drink More Water:
Consume lots of water to keep your body hydrated as dehydration can lead to bad breath. Drinking more water will also rid off the bacteria in the mouth. It will improve saliva production that decreases the bacteria in the mouth.
6. Natural Remedies:
You should avoid any drugs or medications that may affect your growing fetus. You can take natural breath freshening agents like lemon candies and mints that help in masking the bad breath.
7. Rinse Your Mouth:
Rinse your mouth using freshly squeezed lemon juice as it helps remove bad odor. You can also mix hydrogen peroxide with water and use the mixture to rinse your mouth. But do not swallow it as it is harmful. Also, rinse your mouth with salt water every day to reduce the bad breath.
[ Read: Abscess Tooth While Pregnant ]
8. Brush With Baking Soda And Salt:
Mix baking soda to the paste or get toothpaste that contains salt and baking soda and brush your teeth. It eliminates the bacteria and also neutralizes the acids that may cause bad breath.
9. Chewing Gum After Food:
Chewing gums remove bacterial accumulation in the mouth and also produce saliva. You can take sugarless gums to remove the leftover food particles in your teeth. It is one of the simplest ways to get rid of halitosis during pregnancy.
Be careful while brushing your teeth as stomach acids can soften your teeth enamel. When you brush harder, the teeth enamel may chip away causing tooth decay.
Consult your healthcare provider or gynaecologist to find the best way to treat bad breath.
Did you suffer from bad breath during pregnancy? How did you manage the problem? Do share your tips with our readers.
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