Once a woman finds out that she’s pregnant, her life is immediately changed. Not only is there a little baby on the way (yay!), but she also has to follow A TON of new rules: don’t eat this, don’t drink that, sleep in this position, the list goes on and on.
Well, we hate to break it to you, mama, but we have one more rule for you…
DON’T NEGLECT YOUR ORAL HYGIENE!
The hormonal changes you experience during pregnancy affect every part of your body, and your mouth is no exception. Therefore, it’s very important to take care of your teeth and gums while you’re expecting your bundle of joy.
How Pregnancy Affects Your Mouth
When you are pregnant, your body experiences a surge of hormones that help prepare your body for the baby’s growth and development. However, these hormones also have some strange side effects – including an increased response to plaque. Because of this, pregnant women have an increased risk of developing gingivitis (aka gum disease). This can lead to bleeding gums and tooth sensitivity.
Additionally, some of the other side effects of pregnancy can have an adverse effect on your smile. For example, morning sickness can be harmful to your enamel, as excess vomiting can cause stomach acids to settle on the surface of your teeth.
Dental Care While You’re Expecting
These side effects are not fun (especially not when you’re already dealing with the OTHER side effects of pregnancy). But there’s good news: they are preventable! If you are careful to keep up your oral hygiene throughout your pregnancy, you can avoid any discomfort and damage to your teeth. Here are a few tips to help you manage your dental care during your pregnancy:
Brush and Floss Every Day
You probably already brush your teeth twice a day. You might even floss occasionally, too. If you do, keep it up for the next nine months – and if you don’t START! Good oral hygiene is the key to keeping plaque and other bacteria out of your mouth, which will prevent gum disease from developing.
Add a Mouth Rinse to Your Routine
In the world of dental care, mouthwash is usually considered optional. In fact, a study from the Journal of Oral & Maxillofacial Research found that 38% of people have never even used it! However, an antimicrobial mouthwash can be very useful during your pregnancy, as it will kill bacteria your toothbrush may have missed.
Drink Lots of Water
Water is always an important part of anyone’s oral health routine (as well as their general health routine) but it is particularly important during pregnancy. Water helps rinse away some of the bacteria that settles on your tongue, teeth, and gums. Stay hydrated throughout the day and your mouth will thank you – even if you are taking several bathroom breaks!
Keep Seeing the Dentist
Many pregnant women think that they can’t visit the dentist during their pregnancy. However, this simply isn’t true!
While there are some procedures you’ll want to skip for those nine months (for example, most dentists avoid doing x-rays on pregnant women), it’s perfectly safe to go to your regular dental checkups. In fact, it’s important! Your dentist will be able to spot signs of gingivitis and treat it before it becomes a larger problem.
If you’re expecting a little one (or even if you’re not) and you need a regular dental checkup, the Dental Roots team is here to give you the best experience possible. Call our office in Naperville to schedule your appointment today, and we’ll help you get the healthiest smile of your life!