Pregnancy is an exciting time in a woman’s life, but it can also be very stressful. Many expectant mothers don’t think about the effect pregnancy can have on their dental health. From minor issues like morning sickness to more serious problems such as gum disease, various dental health problems can arise during pregnancy.
Here’s what you need to know about the most common dental health issues associated with pregnancy and how to keep your teeth and gums healthy while expecting.
The Link Between Oral Health and Pregnancy Complications
It’s no secret that oral health is closely linked to overall health. If you aren’t taking proper care of your teeth and gums while pregnant, it could put you and your baby in danger. Poor oral hygiene has been linked to an increased risk of preterm labor, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and low birth weight. For these reasons, it’s essential to take extra steps to ensure your oral health is checked during pregnancy.
Common Oral Health Problems Among Pregnant Women
Pregnant women are more prone to specific oral health problems than non-pregnant women. Here are some of the most common issues pregnant women experience:
Morning sickness is a common early pregnancy symptom that can cause nausea and vomiting. Unfortunately, these symptoms can also lead to enamel erosion when stomach acid contacts teeth. To protect your teeth from this acid damage, try drinking water after vomiting or rinsing with an alcohol-free mouthwash to neutralize the acid levels in your mouth.
Pregnancy hormones can cause an increase in inflammation throughout the body which may result in gum disease. To help prevent gum disease during pregnancy, brush, and floss regularly and visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings.
Your dentist may also suggest scaling, which involves removing plaque below the gum line before it hardens into tartar. This will help reduce inflammation caused by bacteria buildup on your gums and could even help prevent preterm labor or delivery complications due to infection in the placenta or uterus caused by bacteria entering through inflamed gums.
During pregnancy, many women experience cravings for sweet foods, which can lead to an increased risk of cavities if not properly managed. Be sure to limit sugary snacks and drinks, brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, and visit your dentist regularly so they can monitor any changes in your oral health while pregnant. Your dentist may even recommend professional fluoride treatments or sealants as extra protection against cavities during this time!
How to Take Care Of Your Teeth
Healthy teeth and gums are essential for pregnant women, both for the health of the mom and baby. If you’re pregnant, ensure you take extra care of your teeth and gums by following these tips.
Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day
In general, brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste is recommended to remove plaque and debris from your teeth. But that’s not all—brush for two minutes each time. This will help remove any plaque or food particles that may be stuck in your mouth. You can also floss once daily to get rid of anything stuck between your teeth. To keep your mouth extra clean, use a tongue scraper or antibacterial mouthwash once or twice a week.
Be Careful What You Eat
Pregnancy cravings can drive some women toward sugary treats. Still, it’s best to limit sugary foods to reduce the risk of cavities. Stick to healthy snacks such as fruits, veggies, yogurt, and cheese if you want something sweet. Also, ensure you drink plenty of water throughout the day—this will help wash away food particles from your mouth and keep your mouth hydrated.
Visit The Dentist Routinely
It’s essential to visit your trusted dentist’s office regularly during pregnancy—the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends visiting every trimester if possible. During this visit, let your dentist know that you are pregnant, so they can provide tailored advice about how to care for your oral health during pregnancy. If necessary, they may also recommend additional treatments such as fluoride varnish or x-rays. For more severe issues such as gum disease, they may refer you to a specialist who can provide specialized care while keeping mom and baby safe during treatment.
The bottom line
Taking proper care of yourself during pregnancy includes making sure your mouth is healthy too! By following the tips outlined above—brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste; flossing; using mouthwash; visiting the dentist; avoiding sugary drinks/foods—you can help reduce the chances for developing any serious oral health issues while pregnant. Remember, good dental hygiene isn’t just about having a beautiful smile—it’s about keeping both mom and baby safe throughout pregnancy too!