We know what you’re thinking when the dentist office calls about your next appointment.."oh, great, something else I need to worry about!" But when you're pregnant, visiting your dentist regularly is just as important as your prenatal checkups. There is direct correlation between your oral health and your baby’s health. Your dentist will be able to tell you what changes to expect during your pregnancy and what to look for just in case a problem was to develop. Once you know you're pregnant, it's good to inform your dentist at your next appointment. Most likely your dentist will opt out of giving you x-rays and just wait until your next appointment or once you've delivered your baby.
Just like the rest of your body during pregnancy, your teeth will also undergo a change. Due to increased hormone levels, your mouth is susceptible to bacteria and plaque which can result in gum tenderness. This can put you at greater risk for tooth decay and gum disease.
Be on the lookout for these issues that could arise during pregnancy:
- Plaque buildup is common during pregnancy, but brushing and flossing regularly can help fight this. An abundance of plaque can lead to tooth decay and gingivitis. Ask your dentist about and antimicrobial mouthwash that will help your fight against plaque.
- Gum inflammation commonly occurs during your second trimester. You may experience swollen and tender gums with minimal bleeding while brushing and flossing.
- Non-cancerous pregnancy tumors can develop around your gums during your second trimester. These growths are believed to be linked to excess plaque. It is normal for these growths to bleed and will usually disappear after your baby is born.
- Although this is not a direct cause of pregnancy, untreated gingivitis can result in periodontal disease. This disease is caused from infections around your teeth, gums, periodontal ligament, and alveolar bone. If you have noticed that your gums are bleeding more than normal after you brush or floss, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
To make sure your hygiene stays in tip-top shape, keep these tips in mind:
- Brush your teeth twice a day as normal with fluoride toothpaste. If your gums are too swollen and tender, try switching to a softer bristle toothbrush and brush as gently as possible. Focus more on the motion of your toothbrush, rather than the pressure you apply to your toothbrush.
- Floss gently once a day.
- Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and check-ups.
- Ask your dentist about antimicrobial mouth wash. This will help your fight against plaque buildup.
- If you are experiencing morning sickness, rinse your mouth out with a teaspoon of baking soda and water. This will help keep stomach acids from attacking your teeth which will cause decay.
- Eating a diet that consists of B12 and vitamin C will help keep gums healthy.
Eating a healthy diet during pregnancy will not only help your teeth, but it will also help your baby’s developing teeth. These tips will help with that!
- Eat a variety of healthy foods that are high in B12 and vitamin C-salmon, leafy greens, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, beef, turkey, legumes, whole grains
- Cravings can be tough, but try to limit yourself to foods and drinks high in sugar.
- Drink plenty of water!