Moms-to-be out there can agree – pregnancy is an exciting time of life! It is a time when you become more mindful of your health – for your sake and your baby’s. While it is evident that your body needs to be well cared for during this time, we like to remind moms that it’s also important to stay on top of your dental health as well. Here are a few important dental health facts and practices to keep in mind when you’re expecting.
Changes to Oral Health During Pregnancy
To start, many people may not be aware but oral health changes during pregnancy, primarily due to an upsurge in hormones like estrogen and progesterone. These hormonal changes can affect gum tissues’ reactions to plaque. In fact, this is so common among expecting mothers that it is referred to as ‘pregnancy gingivitis.’ Because of this change, it is important that you stick to your normal dental care regimen: flossing well each day and brushing (with an electric toothbrush) at least twice per day and after eating when and if you are able.
Related to pregnancy gingivitis, expecting patients could also develop pregnancy tumors, which are non-cancerous growths on swollen and irritated gums. Usually these disappear on their own. However, if they get in the way of chewing or carrying out your normal oral hygiene rituals, let us know and we can discuss what to do.
Maintaining Your Dental Care Regimen
While there are challenges to oral health during pregnancy, those challenges can be met easily as long as you take care of your teeth. We recommend coming in for a cleaning as soon as you know you are pregnant, so that we can build a plan and complete any important or outstanding work within the first trimester. We will also plan to have another cleaning in your second trimester to keep plaque in check.
And while it may seem trivial, please provide us with all the medications and vitamins you are taking throughout your pregnancy – we might need to adjust our treatments based on that information.
If you discover you are getting morning sickness in connection to brushing, try switching to a bland-flavored toothpaste throughout your pregnancy – we are happy to recommend some brands to you! We also recommend rinsing your mouth with water and anti-plaque and fluoride mouthwashes if you have frequent bouts of vomiting.
Good nutrition is also important throughout your pregnancy. While your obstetrician will advise you on these matters, we also recommend plenty of vitamins C and B12, to help support strong oral health. Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet will also put your baby on an early track to good oral health – dairy items like cheese and yogurt provide critical minerals to support the development of your baby’s bones, teeth, and gums. And as always, we recommend keeping sugary cravings in check to keep tooth decay at bay.
Do you have more questions about dental care during pregnancy? If so, we encourage you to ask! We’d love to help you during this time. Call us to schedule your appointment today!