Pregnancy affects nearly every aspect of a woman’s life, including her oral health. Taking good care of your mouth and teeth is important during pregnancy in order to maintain your oral health and to protect the health of your baby.
It is crucial that you continue to visit your dentist while pregnant. Schedule an appointment during your second trimester and be sure to tell your dentist that you are pregnant. Disclose any medications or prenatal vitamins that you are taking. Routine dental care can and should be done during pregnancy. Any urgent procedure can be done as well. Elective dental procedures, including X-rays, can be done during your second trimester, or if you choose, postponed until after the delivery.
Professional cleanings are essential during pregnancy to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Because the body’s hormone levels rise during pregnancy, many women develop gingivitis and experience increased sensitivity in their gums. Typically this occurs between the second and
eighth months and may cause gums to bleed during brushing and to become tender, red and puffy. This is due to an increased level of progesterone. For some women, morning sickness is a major symptom of pregnancy. Along with the nausea comes additional acid that, if left in your mouth, can erode your teeth. Be sure to rinse your mouth out with water or with a fluoride mouthwash to keep the acid level under control. Pregnancy dry mouth can put women at a greater risk for problems such as tooth decay and infections. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and chew sugarless gum to enhance production of saliva.
What you eat during your pregnancy affects the growth of your unborn child-including their teeth. Your baby’s teeth begin to develop during the second trimester of pregnancy. It is essential that you receive enough nutrients especially calcium, protein, phosphorus, and vitamins A,C and D.
The calcium your baby needs is provided by your diet, not by your teeth. Be sure to get enough calcium in your diet by eating nutritious snacks like yogurt and cheese and drinking milk regularily.
It is also important to choose healthy foods when you need a between-meal snack. Nutritious foods such as raw fruits, vegetable and nuts are healthy for you and your baby, and contain less sugar that can damage your teeth. Take care to avoid beverages that are carbonated or contain a lot of sugar, like soda or juice. Sugar changes to acid and plaque on teeth, which can lead to periodontal disease and tooth decay.