Pregnancy and Oral Health: What’s the Connection?
Pregnancy is an exciting time for women, but it can also be a challenging one when it comes to taking care of their health. One area that many pregnant women overlook is their oral health. However, taking care of your teeth and gums during pregnancy is just as important as taking care of the rest of your body.
Why oral health is important during pregnancy
Research has shown that hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect a woman’s oral health. Pregnant women are more susceptible to gum disease due to an increase in progesterone, which can cause gums to become inflamed and bleed more easily. This condition is known as pregnancy gingivitis and according to the CDC, can affect up to 70% of pregnant women.
Untreated gum disease can lead to more serious problems such as periodontitis, which can cause tooth loss and damage to the supporting structures of the teeth. Additionally, bacteria from gum disease can enter the bloodstream and affect the developing baby.
Pregnancy can also cause changes in a woman’s diet and oral hygiene habits, which can further affect oral health. Cravings for sugary foods and drinks can increase the risk of cavities.
Tips for Maintaining Good Oral Health During Pregnancy
Fortunately, there are several steps pregnant women can take to maintain good oral health during pregnancy:
Schedule a dental check-up: It is important to have a dental check-up early in pregnancy, ideally in the first trimester, to identify and treat any existing dental problems. Be sure to inform your dentist that you are pregnant, as some treatments may need to be postponed until after delivery.
Practice good oral hygiene: Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily to remove plaque and prevent cavities. If you experience morning sickness, rinse your mouth with water or a fluoride mouthwash after vomiting to remove acid from your teeth. No matter how gross your mouth may feel after getting sick, it’s important not to brush immediately after doing so as brushing rubs stomach acid onto the teeth.
Watch your diet: Limit sugary foods and drinks, and opt for healthy snacks such as fruits and vegetables. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and rinse your mouth after consuming sugary or acidic foods and drinks.
Consider using mouthwash: An antimicrobial mouthwash can help reduce bacteria in the mouth and prevent gum disease. Just be sure to choose a mouthwash that is safe for use during pregnancy.
Take care of your overall health: Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, staying hydrated, and getting plenty of rest can help to reduce the risk of oral health problems during pregnancy.
Taking care of your oral health during pregnancy is important for both your own health and the health of your baby. By following these tips, you can help prevent oral health problems and maintain a healthy smile throughout your pregnancy. Don’t hesitate to give us a call about any concerns you may have regarding your oral health during this special time.