Pregnancy is an exciting experience, but it also makes you susceptible to various oral health risks. Due to the increase in your hormone levels, bacteria accumulate more quickly on the surface of and between your teeth, putting you an increased risk for gum disease and other dental problems. These four tips will help ensure good oral health during your pregnancy.
Tip #1: Brushing and Flossing
During pregnancy, your mouth may harbor more bacteria than normal, so it is important to brush and floss regularly. You should brush with fluoride toothpaste in the morning and at night before bedtime. If you eat frequent snacks, you should brush more in order to prevent plaque and bacteria from building up on and in-between your teeth. Flossing at least once a day will help remove food particles from the areas of your teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach. Your tongue will also harbor bacteria, so it should be cleaned daily with a tongue cleaner. If you are out and unable to brush after eating or snacking, chewing xylitol-containing or eating mints that contain xylitol will help reduce the bacteria that can lead to tooth decay.
Tip #2: Pregnancy Gingivitis
It is common for women to notice their gums become inflamed, swollen, and/or bleeding during their pregnancy. This is known as pregnancy gingivitis, which may appear as early as the first trimester. One of the best ways to prevent pregnancy gingivitis is by keeping your teeth clean. If you are at a high risk of pregnancy gingivitis, your dentist may recommend frequent cleanings during your second and/or early third trimester to help control the gingivitis. Bacteria in your mouth is basically an infection, which may cross the placenta and enter the baby’s system, and may affect the health of your baby, so if you notice any changes, it is important to see your dentist as soon as possible.
Tip #3: Morning Sickness
Unfortunately, one of the problems many women encounter during pregnancy is morning sickness and/or frequent vomiting. It is common for pregnant women to skip brushing in the morning out of fear of vomiting. Frequent vomiting may increase the accumulation of bacteria on teeth and gums, so skipping brushing is not the best solution, because it will only increase the problem. If brushing triggers a nauseous feeling, talk to your dentist about recommending a bland, unflavored toothpaste. If you do vomit, do not brush immediately afterward, it will spread the bacteria. Instead, rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash. Rinsing with a mixture of baking soda and water will also prevent the acid from damaging your teeth.
Tip #4: Eat a Healthy Diet
It is important to eat a healthy diet throughout your pregnancy, not only for the health of you and your body, but to promote good dental health as well. You should consume a lot of fruits and vegetables, especially those that are rich in B12, Vitamin C and Calcium. Your baby’s tooth development typically starts by the second trimester, so eating a balanced, nutritious diet will help your baby develop strong teeth. Avoid eating sweets and starches during your pregnancy, because the bacteria in your mouth convert these foods into acids, which may eventually erode tooth enamel and cause tooth decay.
If you experience a toothache, symptoms of pregnancy gingivitis or other dental problems during your pregnancy, you should visit your dentist right away. Some dental problems, such as bleeding gums, maybe a sign of a dental infection that may possibly spread throughout your body, including your baby, causing an increased risk for pregnancy complications.