Oh baby! How is it possible that one little person can make such big changes in his mama’s body? As all expectant moms know, pregnancy impacts Mom from head to toe. Headaches, morning sickness, food cravings and aversions, and swollen feet are just some of the challenges expecting moms have to tackle. Less well known, however, is that pregnancy also affects a new mom’s oral health. During pregnancy, many women experience red, swollen gums and are at higher risk for developing cavities. Factors like morning sickness and frequent snacking also put extra strain on oral health. Despite these issues, it’s essential to your health and even that of your baby to maintain good dental care during pregnancy. As you journey toward your due date, here are some extra steps you can take to help keep your teeth healthy and strong.
- Pregnancy Gingivitis and Daily Oral Hygiene
- Keeping Tooth Enamel Strong
- Dental Check-ups During Pregnancy are Safe and Essential
Pregnancy Gingivitis and Daily Oral Hygiene
Expecting moms have probably been told about morning sickness, fatigue, and aches and pains. Less often talked about, however, is pregnancy gingivitis, when gums become red, tender, and swollen during pregnancy. A very common occurrence, pregnancy gingivitis may affect as many as 70% of women.
The culprit of pregnancy gingivitis is progesterone, one of the pregnancy hormones. Progesterone increases blood flow to the gums, which can make them inflamed and prone to bleeding. Sometimes, a red lump can appear on the gums, also known as a pregnancy tumor. See your dentist if you have one, but these are harmless and usually go away on their own after pregnancy.
If you are experiencing pregnancy gingivitis, it’s important to maintain good oral health habits. Don’t be deterred by bleeding gums! Still try to floss once a day and brush twice a day. Doing so will help your mouth fight bacteria that can cause cavities and gum disease.
Dental Care During Pregnancy to Keep Tooth Enamel Strong
If Baby’s turned your stomach upside down, brushing your teeth is probably the last thing you want to think about! But keeping up with daily oral hygiene is essential to help maintain your health and even the health of your little one. Poor oral health has been linked to pregnancy complications, including preterm labor and low birth weight.
During pregnancy, tooth enamel can be compromised by several factors, including frequent snacking, stomach acid from morning sickness, and increased bacteria in the mouth from hormonal changes. To help keep your enamel strong, you may need to add a few small steps to your oral hygiene routine. If frequent snacking helps keep your morning sickness in check, rinse with water or do a quick brush afterward–when your stomach is relatively calm–to remove any food debris. After a bout of morning sickness, swish with baking soda and water (about a teaspoon dissolved in a cup of water). Doing so will neutralize the stomach acid, preventing erosion to your tooth enamel.
Pregnancy can also heighten your sense of smell, which may turn you off your normal brand of toothpaste. If your toothpaste makes your stomach do a flip flop, try a different flavor. Fruit flavors or kids’ toothpaste flavors might be a welcome change if mint is too strong. Just make sure to use an ADA-approved toothpaste with fluoride, which keeps your enamel healthy and strong.
Dental Check-ups During Pregnancy are Safe and Essential
You probably already have lots of doctor’s appointments on your schedule now that you have a little one on board. But be sure that you also continue to see your dentist, too. Regular cleanings, exams, and dental work are safe and essential for your health and that of your baby.
To schedule your appointment today, please contact us. Affiliated Dentists offers general, cosmetic, and pediatric dentistry in Madison, Wisconsin.
Dental Care During Pregnancy brought to you by Dr. Mark Gustavson