During your pregnancy, your health is your number one concern. Why? When you stay healthy, you help keep your baby healthy, too. You might not realize how critical oral care during pregnancy can be, but it could have a significant impact on both your mouth and your pregnancy.
As soon as you know you’re pregnant, or think you might be, let your dentist know before any appointments. This will help your dentist offer the best care for you and your mouth throughout your pregnancy. Below, you’ll find some tips for maintaining excellent oral hygiene while you’re pregnant. Find out why taking the best care you can of both your pregnancy and oral health is what’s best for your little one.
Oral Hygiene and Pregnancy: 5 Tips for a Healthy Mouth
Maintain consistent professional oral care during pregnancy.
It’s essential to continue to see your dentist on your regular schedule, which is typically every six months. Avoiding oral care during pregnancy not only puts you at greater risk for dental health problems, but it could actually lead to more significant issues down the road since your mouth may be more prone to problems while you’re pregnant. Regular checkups can help keep your teeth and gums healthier and will allow your dentist to address any problems right away–before they get worse.
Keep in mind that routine oral care during pregnancy is perfectly safe, including routine procedures like fillings. X-rays, anesthesia, and pregnancy-approved pain medication are safe throughout your pregnancy. If you have any concerns, talk to your dentist so that they can address them with you.
Timing also matters for your comfort, so plan well. If you have significant morning sickness or nausea in the first trimester, you may want to schedule your dental appointment during your second trimester. This may be the best time since laying in the dentist’s chair can become uncomfortable in the third trimester.
Maintain excellent home oral care during pregnancy.
Make sure you continue to practice excellent oral care during pregnancy at home. You should continue to brush your teeth twice per day with a clean toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste and floss with dental floss once per day. If you’re experiencing tender, bleeding gums, your dentist may recommend rinsing with a mouthrinse as well.
Also consider how you care for your teeth between brushing. Particularly if you’re snacking frequently, chewing gum or sucking on mints containing xylitol can be helpful. It reduces the bacteria that causes tooth decay and encourages your mouth to produce more saliva, further protecting your teeth and gums.
Fight common pregnancy and oral health problems.
When it comes to oral hygiene and pregnancy, it’s important to be aware of oral health problems that are common when you’re pregnant. Hormone changes can cause pregnancy gingivitis, which results in inflamed, tender, and bleeding gums. Consistent daily brushing and flossing can help, but you may need to see your dentist for more frequent cleanings to keep it from becoming more serious.
Pregnancy comes with a higher risk of tooth decay for a few reasons. First, if you experience morning sickness, the increased exposure to stomach acid can eat away at your enamel. Additionally, both morning sickness and pregnancy in general can cause you to snack more than normal, increasing the amount of bacteria in your mouth throughout the day. Regular brushing and flossing are, once again, essential, even when you’re feeling nauseous. Rinsing with water and a teaspoon of baking soda may help if you’re nauseous and vomiting.
Eat a healthy diet.
Eating well is crucial for both your oral hygiene and pregnancy. You’ll be doing yourself a favor if you pay attention to your nutrition. Focus on eating a variety of whole foods, including unsweetened dairy products, fresh vegetables and fruit, lean proteins, and whole grains.
Avoid high sugar and processed foods, and limit dried fruit and starchy carbs to keep your mouth happy. Even if you’re nauseous, consider cheese, veggies and hummus, or some fresh fruit and nuts instead of simple carbs like crackers. They’re better for your teeth and offer more nutritional value.
Drink plenty of water.
You’ll notice as soon as you’re pregnant that you’re often thirsty. Stick with water whenever possible, and drink plenty of it. Water is the healthiest choice for your body and staying hydrated, plus it can help keep your mouth healthy, too.
Establish both healthy oral hygiene and pregnancy habits by drinking water after eating to rinse out food particles. Follow anything acidic or sugary, like juice or soda, with water to minimize the damage to your teeth and gums. If you’re craving something other than water, milk is a great choice as well.
Staying Healthy: Pregnancy and Oral Health
Your pregnancy and oral health are more closely connected than you might think, so it’s key to keep your mouth healthy as part of maintaining a healthy pregnancy. If you let problems with your teeth and gums go on without treatment, it could eventually become an infection, which could be harmful during pregnancy. As such, excellent oral hygiene and pregnancy should go hand in hand. As soon as you know you are pregnant, or trying to get pregnant, talk to your dentist about how to preserve your dental health throughout your pregnancy. You’ll be able to plan ahead for any necessary oral care during pregnancy.
As renowned dental expert, dentist, and dad Dr. Kami Hoss can tell you, your oral health is an essential part of your overall health. One of the best things you can do during your pregnancy and well after is taking excellent care of your teeth and gums. Find out more by reserving your copy of his upcoming book, If Your Mouth Could Talk, to learn about protecting your own health by taking care of your mouth. In the process, you’ll be protecting the health of your growing fetus and setting the stage for a lifetime of good health for your baby.