When you are pregnant, dental care is probably the last thing on your mind. Yet, taking care of your dental health is especially important during pregnancy due to an increased risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Pregnant women are more susceptible to gum disease and tooth decay for these main reasons:
1 – Hormonal Shifts: Due to changing hormone levels, bacteria growth is more likely in the gums and mouth during pregnancy. High levels of bacteria increase the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
2 – Acid Development: Nausea and vomiting, which is often prevalent during pregnancy, increases the levels of acid within the mouth, breaking down tooth enamel more rapidly.
3 – Pregnancy Dry Mouth: Dry mouth caused by pregnancy can increase risk of tooth decay, as saliva fights bacteria in the mouth.
Due to these factors, it is more important than ever to take excellent care of your teeth to ensure optimal oral health. Here are some tips to help you take care of your teeth (and your baby’s teeth) during pregnancy:
Practice Good Oral Hygiene Habits at Home: Be sure to continue to brush and floss your teeth daily. Be extra vigilant about your flossing routine to minimize bacteria.
Focus on raw fruits and vegetables, as well as protein-rich snacks: Not only will this add high levels of nutrition to your diet, but also it will minimize sugar exposure to your teeth.
Battle Dry Mouth: Drink plenty of water and suck on sugar-free lozenges (or chew sugar-free gum) to increase saliva production.
Neutralize Acids after Nausea: Neutralize acids in your mouth after vomiting by rinsing with a baking soda rinse (one teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water). This will minimize the deteriorating effects of acids caused by vomiting.
Keep your Dental Appointments: Especially after the first trimester, routine dental care and dental work (including cleanings and fillings) during pregnancy is safe and essential for you and for the health of your teeth. Let our dental team know that you are pregnant so you can avoid any unnecessary/routine X-Rays during pregnancy.
By maintaining a proper oral care regimen while pregnant, you can help minimize any risk factors and ensure healthy teeth and gums well beyond these nine months.