Congratulations on your pregnancy! We are sure you are excited for the arrival of the newest member of your family. But as you eagerly wait for baby to arrive, your body will undergo many changes. Pregnancy will affect so many aspects of your life, including your oral health. Read on and learn more about pregnancy and oral health.
Pregnancy and oral health: the basics
You may be surprised to learn that good oral health during pregnancy is important for the health of your baby. Your hormones change during pregnancy. These hormonal changes can affect your oral health and lead to gum and bone disease. Furthermore, good oral health can decrease your risk of having a low birth rate baby, a preterm delivery or pregnancy hypertension.
To ensure good oral health during pregnancy, you should:
- Brush twice a day with a soft bristle toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste. Try to brush toward the gum line, where bacteria tend to accumulate.
- Floss daily to remove all bacterias in between your teeth.
Additionally, it is recommended to schedule a dental checkup in your first trimester. Tell your dentist you are pregnant and only take X-rays in an emergency. However, if you do need an X-ray the lead apron will protect your baby from the radiation. If you need to get any dental work done, such as fillings, it is preferable to wait until the second trimester.
Pregnancy and oral health: bleeding gums
As your hormones change during pregnancy, your gums may become more sensitive when touched and even bleed. This is due to an increase in estrogen and progesterone. In fact, some women may develop pregnancy gingivitis. Pregnancy gingivitis is when the gums swell, bleed and become irritated. Hormonal change fosters an increased response to plaque bacteria.
To reduce your risks of developing pregnancy gingivitis, brush and floss regularly. However, if you do experience swollen or bleeding gums, consult your dentist. Most of the time, pregnancy gingivitis goes away after pregnancy, but sometimes it can turn into periodontitis so you better address it with your dentist as soon as you notice the symptoms. He could recommend more frequent professional cleaning or hygiene products adapted to your situation.
Pregnancy and Oral Health: Gingivitis and Your Baby
Did you know that gingivitis can impact your baby’s weight? Indeed, pregnant women who suffer from gingivitis are more likely to give birth early to an underweight baby. Furthermore, pregnant women with gingivitis but who get regular professional cleaning at their dentist’s office, have lower risk of preterm labour. Bacteria that cause gingivitis can stimulate the placenta’s hormones to trigger labour and lead to premature birth. Gingivitis is also one of the causes of pre-eclampsia, a condition that causes high blood pressure during pregnancy.
Pregnancy and oral health: how morning sickness affects your teeth
If you are experiencing morning sickness, your teeth can be exposed to stomach acid. This happens when you vomit. Unfortunately, stomach acid can weaken the surface of your teeth and increases your risk of tooth decay and erosion. If you do vomit, rinse your mouth out immediately afterward with water or a fluoride mouthwash. Then, wait for at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth (if possible!).
Pregnancy and oral health: the importance of diet
Is your medicine cabinet already packed full of prenatal vitamins, folic acid and iron? Awesome! However, diet is also super important. In fact, healthy eating will directly impact your oral health, general health and the health of your baby. Stay away for sugary foods and eat foods rich in protein, calcium, vitamins A, C and D, and phosphorous. Calcium is especially important as it will help your baby’s bones and teeth grow strong. As such, you should eat foods that are high in calcium or take a calcium supplement. A lack of calcium will be offset by taking it from the mother’s bones and not her teeth. It is a myth to think that it is normal to lose a tooth during pregnancy.
Recipes do not need to be complicated or elaborate to be healthy! For example, try Greek Yogurt with Honey and Pistachios for a healthy breakfast or snack.
Most importantly, for your overall health, oral health and the health of your baby, do not smoke, drink alcohol or use drugs during pregnancy.
If you are expecting or are trying to have a baby, do not neglect your oral health. Keep on brushing and flossing regularly, eat healthy, take vitamins and eat foods rich in calcium. Furthermore, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist for a cleaning and oral health checkup before pregnancy. Make an appointment today with the Clinique dentaire Fortin Poirier for all your oral health needs.