While it is important to always care for your teeth, there are some critical points where maintaining a high standard of oral care is essential. For those who are currently pregnant, the nine-month course of your pregnancy is one of those times in your life where you will need to take extra care of your dental health.
Oral Health Challenges During Pregnancy
Due to the changes that occur in your body while you are pregnant, you can face a number of oral health challenges during your pregnancy.
One of the most common issues women see while pregnant is “pregnancy gingivitis”. Research has found that this type of gingivitis inflammation is brought on by the elevated progesterone and estrogen hormone levels. Visiting your dentist for a simple cleaning may help the inflammation in your gums.
Another serious problem some women face is dental erosion. This issue is usually brought on by severe morning sickness, where the stomach acid brought up by vomiting erodes the enamel of the teeth. It is important to be proactive in treating your morning sickness to help protect your teeth.
Also, invasive dental work during pregnancy is not recommended, due to the fact that the risk of infection and gum disease is heightened while you are pregnant. If it is necessary to have dental work done, be sure to discuss antibiotics and other infection prevention methods with your dentists prior to the work being done.
Ways To Protect Your Teeth While Pregnant
While there are some extra oral health challenges that you may face during pregnancy, you can still do things which will protect your teeth while you are pregnant. Some of the best things you can do to maintain your oral health during pregnancy are:
Cut back on sugar – Sugary treats—even during the holidays—should be reduced or replaced entirely. The leftover sugar on your teeth gives more for the teeth-eroding bacteria to eat and that’s the last thing you need while pregnant.
Don’t brush immediately after vomiting – It may be instinctual to brush your teeth after a bout of morning sickness, but don’t do it. First, swish your mouth out with water or with a baking soda and water mix, to neutralize the stomach acid. Then, after 30 minutes, you can brush your teeth without compounding the effect of the stomach acid.
Schedule a dental visit in the 2nd trimester – Halfway through your pregnancy, during your 2nd trimester, you should go in for a dental cleaning. While dental x-rays are safe, your dentist can either layer you with lead coverings or skip them entirely if you have no dental pain. The cleaning should help your dentist assess how your teeth are doing and help alleviate issues like pregnancy gingivitis.
Ensure you have enough calcium – The old wives’ tale that states you lose a tooth for every child is completely false. However, your developing baby needs calcium, and if you aren’t taking in enough calcium, it can be leached from your bones, causing a tooth to fall out or other bone density issues.
Carefully maintain regular oral hygiene – More than anything, the best thing you can do for your overall oral health is brush twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and floss in the evenings.
By taking care of your teeth during your pregnancy and beyond, you can set a good example for your children that they can follow, especially when they have the right toothbrush to help them keep their teeth healthy!
Tiffany Kay is a wife, mother, writer, and health enthusiast. While Tiffany was working as a dental hygienist she became very passionate about oral health. Now that she is home with her kids, she finds time to write and share her passion for oral health with others online. When she isn’t writing you can find her in the kitchen baking with her kids or in the front yard gardening. Tiffany loves spending time with her family and living an active, healthy, life.