Pregnancy, Prenatal Care, and Your Oral Health

Dental Health
By: Spirit Dental
February 14, 2018

Pregnant woman holding stomach

Did you know that it’s a good idea to take extra steps to maintain your dental hygiene while you’re pregnant? There’s a connection between your pregnancy and your oral health, and how you take care of your mouth could even have an impact on the well-being of your child. So check out the prenatal oral care tips below to ensure you can keep both your mouth and your baby as healthy as possible.

Here’s How Pregnancy Could Affect Your Oral Health

Pregnancy causes you to go through hormonal changes that may boost your risk of developing gum disease. Studies have already found that a lot of women will develop gingivitis while they’re pregnant. This could be due to the fact that higher hormone levels might affect the way that your gums react to plaque.

Unfortunately, your oral health issues don’t just affect you; they could adversely affect the health of your baby too. In fact, experts have determined that, if you have gum disease while you’re pregnant, your risk of having your baby prematurely, or delivering a baby who is underweight, might increase. Scary!

How could this be? Well, additional research will help experts get more answers, but in the meantime, the evidence shows that gum disease could trigger higher amounts of the chemicals that would induce labor. And the more severe the gum disease, the greater the risk of having a baby prematurely.

On top of negatively affecting the health of your gums, higher levels of certain hormones during pregnancy might even cause your teeth to feel loose. And because pregnancy could cause you to have more acid in your mouth, the risk of tooth decay might also increase. Yikes!

Prenatal Dental Care Tips for Expecting Moms

  • Because your risk of gingivitis may be higher while you are pregnant, making it a point to stick to your oral hygiene routine at home is a wise move. Do your best to keep all of your teeth as clean as possible, particularly along the gumline, in order to keep gingivitis at bay or at least reduce it. And don’t forget to floss to remove as much plaque as possible every day.
  • Try to keep an eye out for pregnancy gingivitis by paying attention to your gums and checking for bleeding, swelling, or tenderness. If these symptoms develop, contact your dentist, as you don’t want the condition to progress to periodontitis, which is serious.
  • Eating healthy throughout your pregnancy won’t only benefit the growing baby in your belly; it could also help you maintain the health of your mouth. So rather than having sugary sweets, stick with nutritious yet satisfying alternatives like fresh fruit. Upping your intake of calcium-rich, moisture-rich, and fiber-rich foods is also a great idea.
  • Suffering with morning sickness? Switching to a toothpaste with a bland flavor might help prevent gagging. And if you vomit, use some water or mouthwash to thoroughly rinse your mouth out in an effort to keep the teeth and gums clean.

Don’t Neglect Your Dental Appointments While Pregnant

Sure, you have a lot on your mind and loads to get done before your baby arrives, but seeing your dentist throughout your pregnancy is another important step that you can take to rest assured that your teeth and gums are clean and healthy. Just be sure to inform your dentist that you’re pregnant, and be open and upfront about medications and supplements (including prenatal vitamins) that you’re taking. Also let your dentist know if you’ve had miscarriages in the past or if you’re experiencing any other health concerns or stress.

Although you could receive routine dental care throughout your pregnancy, some experts recommend seeing your dentist anywhere from the fourth to the sixth month of pregnancy. If you do see your dentist during your first trimester, he or she might choose to avoid things like pain medications, x-rays, antibiotics, and anesthetics unless they’re really necessary.

Urgent dental procedures could be completed during your pregnancy, too, but follow your dentist’s advice based upon your state of health. When it comes to elective procedures, on the other hand, you can hold off until after you’ve had your baby. And if you have any questions regarding the type of dental care that you can receive, consider talking to your obstetrician first.

Extra Tip: Planning on getting pregnant? Take action early by seeing your dentist for an exam and a cleaning. This way, you can treat any dental or gum problems in advance and start your pregnancy off with a clean and healthy mouth.

Healthy Mouth, Healthy Pregnancy!

Taking care of your oral health during pregnancy is an essential step that could help ensure the health of your child. But even after you’ve given birth, it’s a great idea to see your dentist for another checkup, especially if you were diagnosed with a condition like gingivitis while you were expecting. Overall, with the right dental care strategy, you could welcome a strong baby, and you’ll be sporting a bright smile for all of those photos with your bundle of joy!


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