Many aspects of health are important before and during pregnancy, and oral health is no exception. While many of us know common tips such as having an optimal diet, avoiding tobacco and alcohol, oral health is not something that is commonly discussed. Learn how the state of your oral health impacts your pregnancy.
Oral Health Risks
Recent studies show that active gum disease during pregnancy results in low birth weight babies and pre-term births. An increased risk of developing dental decay, dental erosion, and gum disease exists as well.
Before your pregnancy
Get a dental exam
If your pregnancy is planned, having a complete dental exam is a smart idea. If any dental issues need addressing, obtain treatment first.
Adjust your oral care if necessary
If you know your oral care is lacking, or if you have gum disease, the chances are that it will worsen during your pregnancy. Treating active gum disease, and making preventive changes is vital.
Complete outstanding dental work
While the use of x-rays and fillings during pregnancy is deemed safe, some people like to err on the side of caution by taking care of outstanding dental treatment early. Another consideration is that laying in a dental chair towards the third trimester may be uncomfortable.
During your pregnancy
Dealing with morning sickness, general fatigue, and a sensitive gag reflex during pregnancy makes it hard to commit to good oral care. However, it is necessary to maintain your oral care to ensure that gum disease does not occur.
A common issue during pregnancy is the occurrence of pregnancy gingivitis which results in swollen and bleeding gums. These changes are due to hormones and commonly begin in the first trimester. A regularly followed and proper oral care routine helps with the effects of pregnancy gingivitis. To ensure that gum disease is kept under control, remember to have your regularly scheduled dental hygiene cleanings.
A small number of women may develop a growth on the gums. While it may feel uncomfortable and even bleed, these growths are not cancerous. They may disappear on their own or they can be removed by a dentist. These growths form in response to plaque build-up in the mouth. Ensuring that you have excellent oral hygiene is one way to avoid this issue.
Some women experience vomiting episodes due to morning sickness. Because stomach acid makes contact with teeth during vomiting, steps are needed to minimize damage to teeth. Remember to always rinse after a vomiting episode with a mixture of water and baking soda. Avoid brushing your teeth right after vomiting. The stomach acid softens the enamel so brushing right away will wear away the enamel. Waiting at least thirty minutes before brushing is a good idea.
Talk to your dental professional if you have any questions, or if you would like to schedule your dental exam. Contact us today!