Did you know your teeth and gums are more vulnerable when you’re expecting? Pregnancy hormones cause swelling, bleeding, and inflammation in the gums, leading to gingivitis or a gum infection. In addition to gingivitis, you may also experience the erosion of tooth enamel, which can lead to cavities, due to the effects of stomach acids that are released from morning sickness. Essentially, pregnancy provides the perfect set up for periodontal disease. Follow the enclosed steps to help promote oral health during pregnancy.
Oral hygiene maintenance is the best prevention against this painful and dangerous bacterial infection which is not only a dental problem but one that can increase your risk of having a preterm or low-birth weight baby. Common sense is your best guide when it comes to deterring the onset of periodontal disease. Follow these simple recommendations unfailingly and you are more likely to achieve success.
- Give Your Dentist A Visit or Two!
Continue dental visits twice per year or more frequently if your teeth and gums are especially at risk for disease. Let your dentist know you are pregnant in case you need medication or an x-ray. Both are OK as long as the medications are safe for pregnancy and you wear a lead apron to protect your baby during an x-ray.
- Brush, Swish, & Floss
Using a fluoride toothpaste, brush your teeth and tongue twice per day. After brushing, swish and gargle twice per day with an alcohol free, anti-microbial mouth wash. Floss at least once every day.
- Eat a Healthy Diet
Use good judgment when you make dietary decisions during pregnancy. Avoid sweets and sugary beverages to minimize your risk of developing dental caries. Be sure to increase calcium rich foods such as dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese), certain cereals, calcium-fortified orange juice, rhubarb, turnips, & spinach to strengthen your tooth enamel. Eat celery to keep your teeth clean, fish or fish oil for extra vitamin D and tooth strengthening, and broccoli or kale for vitamin K which helps increase mineral absorption. Also, don’t forget to drink lots of water.
Don’t let periodontal disease take the smile out of your pregnancy experience. Protect yourself and your baby with these simple steps starting now.