Have you recently discovered that there will be a new addition to your family? Of course, it’s always important to take great care of your teeth and gums, but if you’ve recently discovered that you’re pregnant, it’s even more important. The hormonal changes caused by pregnancy actually increase the risk of developing gum disease, which affects both your health and that of your developing baby. Here are some tips to help you maintain good oral health during your pregnancy.
If you are not pregnant yet, it’s best to make a dental appointment before you become pregnant. That way, your dentist can clean your teeth, examine your gums and address any oral health problems in advance.
Dental Care While Pregnant
If you find out that you’re already pregnant, it’s best to avoid nonessential dental treatments during the first trimester and the second half of the third trimester. These are the most critical times in your baby’s growth and development, and it’s best to avoid exposing you and your baby to anything that could influence your baby’s growth. Cosmetic procedures, like tooth whitening, should be avoided until after you’ve had your baby.
On the other hand, it’s extremely important to keep your regular dental exams because of a common condition called pregnancy gingivitis. The hormonal changes of pregnancy increase your risk of developing gum disease. If your gums become tender or start to bleed or swell, talk to your dentist as soon as possible.
Diet for your (and your baby’s) teeth
Although cravings for sweets are common during pregnancy, try to limit your intake of sugary snacks. Like always, the more often you snack during the day, the more likely tooth decay can develop. Otherwise, eat a balanced diet. Your baby’s teeth start developing in the womb about three months into the pregnancy. Dairy products, like cheese and yogurt, are good sources of the essential minerals needed for your baby’s teeth, gums and bones.
Follow good oral hygiene
Of course, this is important even when you’re not pregnant. In the beginning, morning sickness can keep you from brushing your teeth. Your dentist can recommend brands of toothpaste that are bland-tasting. If you do suffer from morning sickness with frequent vomiting, be sure to rinse your mouth with water or a mouth rinse.
If you discover that you’re pregnant, be sure to let your dentist know right away.