Expectant mothers can agree that their bodies need extra care during pregnancy — oral health included. At McLean DDS, we like to remind moms-to-be about the importance of taking care of teeth and gums throughout their pregnancy. Here are some important things to remember and helpful oral health practices to keep in mind during this exciting time in your life.
Your Mouth During Pregnancy
The majority of oral health problems that women experience during pregnancy are a result of the many changes in the body’s hormones. Common dental problems faced by expectant mothers include:
- Pregnancy gingivitis. Pregnancy gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease, is one of the most common dental problems associated with pregnancy. If you have noticed that your gums look red, swollen or are tender to the touch, contact your dentist immediately. Untreated gum disease is harmful to you and your baby as it increases the risk for preterm birth or low birth weight.
- Tooth decay. Some moms-to-be experience an increased risk for decay as a result of snacking more frequently and morning sickness, which exposes your teeth to harsh acids.
- Pregnancy tumors. It is possible for benign tumors, or overgrowths of tissue, to form on the gums — a result of excess plaque that may cause problems with speaking or eating. Most women do not need the tumors removed as they will disappear after the baby is born.
Dental Care for Moms-To-Be
While oral health challenges during pregnancy may arise, many of those challenges can easily be met with good dental health care. During pregnancy, you are less likely to develop dental problems if you have already established good oral hygiene habits. Tips for a healthy mouth during pregnancy include:
- Keep your regular dental appointments during pregnancy. Getting a dental checkup during pregnancy is not only safe, it is essential for both your oral and overall health. During your visit, the dentist will clean your teeth, check the health of your gums and address any issues before they become serious problems.
- Continue good, basic dental habits at home. Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily to remove plaque from along the gum line.
- If you experience morning sickness, rinse your mouth often to remove harmful acids. If you cannot tolerate your current toothpaste — don’t skip brushing! Ask your dentist about switching to a milder toothpaste brand.
- Follow a well-balanced diet and enjoy sweets in moderation. By practicing healthy eating habits throughout your pregnancy, you will keep your teeth strong and cavity-free while helping to build strong teeth and bones for your baby.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and increase saliva production.
- Contact our office at the first sign of gingivitis, such as gum tenderness or bleeding.
Talk to Your Dentist
Maintaining dental health throughout pregnancy is extremely important to a woman’s overall health — and the baby’s health, as well. If you are expecting and have questions or concerns about dental care during pregnancy, talk to your dentist. At McLean DDS, we love helping moms-to-be and their growing families establish good oral health habits that last a lifetime. Contact our office today to schedule a visit.