Dental care is always important. But dental care during pregnancy is absolutely critical. Just like everything else that happens when you’re expecting, what you do has the potential to affect not just you, but your unborn baby.
Why Dental Care During Pregnancy Is So Important
We bet you’ve heard the phrase “eating for two.” While some folks interpret it as an invite to go ahead and have that second piece of pie, it’s really a reminder that your dietary choices affect your baby’s health. In much the same way, you’re brushing for two while you’re pregnant.
You brush and floss to remove the bacteria in your mouth that cause cavities and gum disease. Avoiding the latter is especially important because medical research has linked advanced gum disease (periodontitis) to many health issues, including premature births and low birth weight.
We want to help you have a healthy pregnancy! So we’re explaining some pregnancy-related dental issues you need to be aware of and offering some tips for dental care during pregnancy. If you have any questions for us or need to schedule an appointment, call Carmichael Dental Care at 334-600-1423.
How Pregnancy Affects Your Gums and Teeth
When you’re pregnant your body changes in so many ways, it’s tough to keep track. Here is how it affects your mouth:
- Hormonal changes send more blood flowing to your gums, which makes them more sensitive and swollen. This is called pregnancy gingivitis.
- Pregnancy hormones also make it easier for bacteria to accumulate in your mouth. The bacteria can turn pregnancy gingivitis into the more serious periodontitis.
- If you experience vomiting related to morning sickness, the harsh acids can damage the enamel on your teeth, making you more prone to cavities.
Tips for Dental Care During Pregnancy
Our most important advice for dental care during pregnancy is to brush and floss every day. We always recommend using a soft-bristled brush, but it’s especially important while pregnant to help avoid further irritation of your already tender gums. If you find it painful to use floss, ask us about alternatives like interdental brushes or oral irrigators like Waterpik.
Chewing xylitol gum is another good practice for avoiding cavities.
Visit us for at least one professional dental cleaning and exam during your pregnancy. Let us know you’re pregnant. We may want to avoid routine X-rays – and congratulate you, of course!
Here are some additional tips for dental care during pregnancy:
- To relieve gum sensitivity and help deter bacteria, rinse your mouth daily with warm salt water (one teaspoon of salt per cup of water).
- If you vomit, rinse your mouth with a cup of water to which you’ve added a teaspoon of baking soda. Also, try to wait an hour after vomiting before you brush your teeth to avoid damaging your tooth enamel.
- Postpone elective procedures like teeth whitening until after your pregnancy.
- To improve circulation, keep your legs uncrossed while you’re in the dental chair.
- Choose baby-friendly and tooth-friendly snacks like cheese, yogurt, raw fruits and vegetables. Limit your intake of sugary snacks.
- Choose water and lowfat milk instead of sugary or acidic drinks like soda or even juice.
If you need to have any dental work done during pregnancy, we recommend having it done during the second trimester if possible.
Need to schedule an appointment? Call Carmichael Dental Care at 334-600-1423.