Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that can create potential oral health problems. These hormones change the way your body responds to plaque. If you don’t practice good oral hygiene while pregnant, the health of your baby could be in jeopardy.
Here are some helpful tips to maintain good oral hygiene before, during, and after your pregnancy that will make sure the health of you and your baby.
Before Your Pregnancy
If you plan on getting pregnant, try to visit your dentist beforehand. Your dentist can carefully examine your gums, professionally clean your teeth, and if you have any oral health problems, they can be taken care of before your pregnancy.
Oral Health During Your Pregnancy
It’s imperative to let your dentist know if you are pregnant. As a precautionary measure, dental treatments during your first trimester and the second half of your third trimester, should be avoided. These are critical times in the baby’s development and you don’t want to undergo a dental procedure that could affect the baby’s growth or development. During the second trimester, routine dental procedures are acceptable. All elective dental procedures should be avoided until after delivery.
Your dentist may need to alter your dental plan based on what kind of medicines and prenatal vitamins you are taking. Certain drugs such as tetracycline can affect the development of your child’s teeth and should not be taken during your pregnancy. Also try to avoid dental x-rays.
During pregnancy, regular gum exams are very important because pregnancy hormones can increase your risk for periodontal disease and tender gums that may bleed easily. Pay close attention to the condition of your gums during pregnancy, if bleeding or swelling occur, talk to your dentist immediately.
If morning sickness is keeping you from brushing your teeth, try a bland tasting toothpaste as opposed to a minty flavored one. Ask your dentist for recommendations. Rinse your mouth out with water or mouthwash if you experience morning sickness.
Not only is it important to eat healthy for the sake of your baby, but it’s also important to eat healthy to keep your teeth and gums in good condition.
Avoid eating sugary snacks, although that is easier said than done. Sweet cravings are common during pregnancy but keep in mind, the more often you snack, the greater the chance you have of developing tooth decay. If that’s not enough of a reason to stop snacking, some studies have shown that the bacteria responsible for tooth decay are passed down from mother to child.
Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Your baby’s teeth begin to form only three months into the pregnancy. Your diet should contain dairy products like cheese and yogurt. These are good for the baby’s developing teeth, gums, and bones.
After Your Pregnancy
If you experience any gum problems during your pregnancy, schedule an appointment with your dentist after your delivery to have your mouth examined and your periodontal health evaluated.
Practicing good oral hygiene before you become pregnant will make it easier to maintain good oral health during your pregnancy.
Trisha Banks is a blogger for Lakeway Center for Cosmetic & Family Dentistry in Lakeway, Texas. She was surprised when she found out how important oral health is during pregnancy.