When you are pregnant, you will have lots of hormonal changes, and some of them can increase the possibility of gum disease (also called pregnancy gingivitis). This can lead to poor health in the growing fetus as well. Here are some tips to help you take care of your teeth while being pregnant.
Whenever it is possible, have a dental check-up before you get pregnant. Your dentist can clean the teeth and carefully check for any problems which can be successfully treated before you become pregnant. Once you have given birth, you should have a full check-up again; there is a big risk of developing gum problems during pregnancy.
As soon as you become pregnant, you must tell your dentist. Apart from emergency situations, dentist visits should be avoided in the first trimester and the second part of the final trimester. These are the most important periods in the growth of your baby, so you need to avoid doing anything to affect its growth in any way. Routine dental issues can be managed during the second trimester, for example.
Give your dentist a list of all medications you currently take. Include any supplements and other forms of medication, because the list may cause your dentist to change the way he treats you. It is important to avoid having dental X-rays while being pregnant, unless it is an emergency; if this is the case, the dentist will take rigid precautions.
If you find that you can’t brush your teeth due to morning sickness, try a blander tasting toothpaste. Your dentist might be able to suggest a good one for you. If you frequently vomit because of morning sickness, use an antiplaque, fluoride mouth rinse to get rid of the bad taste and to keep your mouth clean.
Acid reflux and vomiting can increase the risk of tooth erosion. To avoid this, rinse your mouth immediately after each episode. Add one teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate to one cup of water, rinse your mouth well and spit it out. Chew sugarless gum to help stimulate your salivary glands, thus counteracting acid and washing it away. Rub a little toothpaste on your teeth with a finger.
Pregnancy can cause unusual cravings, often for sugary foods. Try to avoid these foods if possible, as they will only lead to poor dental health. Try to eat balanced, healthy meals that also help nourish your growing baby, because his teeth start to form around the end of the first trimester.
When you are pregnant, there is an increased risk of having tumors in the mouth, because the gums tend to swell up due to irritation. This may interfere with your usual brushing and flossing routine.
The good news is that these tumors will often times shrink and disappear once the baby is born. However, if they are causing too much trouble, see your dentist and determine the best solution to get them removed.
If you suffer from pregnancy gingivitis, too much bacteria may get into your blood via your gums and travel to your uterus, causing prostaglandins (chemicals) to be formed; many scientists believe that this can cause premature labor. This is just another reason to care for your teeth and gums during pregnancy.
If you have any dental health concerns before, during or after pregnancy, make sure to consult with your dentist.