You are expecting, congratulations! As you likely know, your hormones change during pregnancy and this can affect your oral health. Read on and discover how pregnancy and oral health are related and what steps to take to ensure your health and that of your baby.
Oral Health and pregnancy : health risks
When you are expecting, your body changes in so many ways. Staying healthy during pregnancy is important for both yourself and your little one. But staying healthy also means taking care of your oral health. While most moms-to-be know about the importance of eating right, attention to dental health is sometimes overlooked. However, hormonal changes (increases in estrogen and progesterone) can affect your gums, making them more sensitive, swollen and red. This is called pregnancy gingivitis, and without proper care, can lead to periodontitis. Periodontitis is a more serious infection of the bone that holds the teeth in place. Most importantly, this condition has been linked to poor pregnancy outcomes, particularly:
· Delivering a preterm baby;
· Delivering a baby with a low birth rate.
Pregnancy and oral health: how to care for your teeth and gums during pregnancy
In addition to hormonal changes, your oral health is affected by what you eat and drink. How often you eat and drink and how long plaque is left on teeth can also impact the health of your teeth and gums. As such, to properly care for your oral health during pregnancy, you should:
· Brush regularly (twice a day) with a fluoride toothpaste;
· Brush carefully along the gum line where food tends to stick;
· Floss before bedtime every day;
· Drink water between meals and avoid sweet drinks;
· Brush your teeth after eating or snacking (if this is not possible, rinse your mouth with water);
· Limit sweet foods that stick to your teeth;
· Do not drink alcohol, smoke, do drugs or use cannabis products during pregnancy.
Morning sickness and oral health
Unfortunately, for many expecting moms, morning sickness is common. In fact, morning sickness can put you at higher risk of tooth decay and erosion. When you throw up, teeth are exposed to stomach acid, which can weaken enamel. If you experience morning sickness:
· Rinse your mouth with water or a fluoride mouthwash immediately after vomiting;
· Wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth.
Eating right: good oral health for you and your baby
What you eat and drink will help your baby develop throughout your pregnancy. In addition to eating a healthy diet, rich in protein, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, C, and D, you should take a multivitamin containing folic acid and iron. In fact, calcium should be an essential part of your pregnancy diet. Your baby needs calcium to develop healthy teeth and bones. So, make sure you eat foods that are rich in calcium such as dairy products.
Dental check-ups during pregnancy
Health Canada recommends visiting your dentist in the first trimester of your pregnancy. You should schedule a dental check-up and teeth cleaning. Make sure you tell your dentist that you are pregnant. Furthermore, if you need to have any dental work done, you should do so in your second trimester. X-rays should only be taken in case of an emergency. Once again, it is imperative to tell your dentist or hygienist that you are pregnant. As such, they will make sure you wear a lead apron to protect your baby.
Taking care of your teeth and gums is an important part of a healthy pregnancy. Regular brushing and flossing, and eating right are key to maintaining good oral health. Remember to also schedule a visit to your dentist during your pregnancy. Contact us today to book your next appointment.