March 2, 2022
Your body undergoes several changes while awaiting the birth of your little bundle of joy. Stretch marks will fade and you’ll lose the extra weight once you’re holding your baby in your arms, but the effects of pregnancy on your oral health may not be so forgiving. Believe it or not, pregnancy can increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. With your oral and general health closely connected, you don’t want a dental issue to affect you or your unborn baby. Don’t worry, here’s how to keep your smile healthy until your delivery.
Combat Tooth Decay
It’s normal to have several cravings throughout your pregnancy, like ice cream or cookies. Increased snacking can raise your risk of tooth decay because your teeth will be exposed to cavity-causing bacteria more often. If you can’t ignore your sweet tooth, commit to brushing after every meal. If your toothbrush isn’t handy, rinse your mouth with water or chew a piece of sugarless gum.
Keep Your Gums Healthy
At least 50% of adults have gum disease, which is a leading cause of tooth loss. Although it can occur in anyone, your risk increases while you’re pregnant. Not only can the infection wreak havoc on your smile, but it is also connected to preterm delivery and low birth weights. Your oral hygiene habits are more important than ever. Besides brushing, use high-quality dental floss to clean between each tooth at least once per day. Add an antimicrobial mouthwash to your daily routine to neutralize any bacteria left behind by brushing and flossing.
Prevent Enamel Erosion
Many expectant mothers experience morning sickness. Vomiting will bathe your teeth in stomach acid, which will slowly erode your enamel. While it usually subsides by the second trimester, morning sickness can leave your enamel weakened, increasing your risk of cavities, tooth sensitivity, and fractures. You don’t want the acid to sit on your teeth, but don’t brush right away. It’s better to rinse your mouth with water and brush your teeth about 30 minutes later.
Don’t Wait to Visit Your Dentist
Contrary to many rumors, it is safe to visit your dentist while you are pregnant; however, let your dental team know you are expecting. Cleanings and checkups are perfectly safe for you and your baby, but your dentist may skip taking X-rays. If you require any dental treatments, most are safe once you’ve reached the second trimester. Your dentist will create the personalized plan you need to monitor and preserve your oral health while you and your child’s safety are the utmost priority.
As you focus on setting up the nursery and picking the perfect name, don’t forget to keep your oral health at the top of your priority list.
About Dr. Shiloh LindseyDr. Lindsey earned her dental degree at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center of Dentistry. She regularly pursues continuing education to provide comprehensive dental care through prevention. If you need a cleaning and checkup, contact our office today to request an appointment.
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