Pregnancy causes many changes throughout your body, including your mouth. Some of the symptoms of pregnancy can make it a bit more difficult to maintain your oral health. With so much on your mind as you prepare for the arrival of your baby, it can easy to let your oral hygiene slip a bit. You may be so tired at night that you fall into bed without brushing or flossing. You may experience morning sickness and the smell of toothpaste might be nauseating.
However difficult it may be, taking care of your teeth is more important than ever during this time as pregnancy makes you more susceptible to tooth decay. Here are some tips for how to maintain your oral health during pregnancy.
Brush Twice a Day
Dentists recommend brushing your teeth twice a day. It is usually best to brush your teeth in the morning, either after you wake up or after you eat breakfast, and again at night before you go to bed. Brushing in the morning removes the pl aque that builds up on your teeth overnight. Brushing at night removes the food particles from your teeth to prevent them from turning into plaque while you sleep. Use a fluoride toothpaste to help keep your enamel strong.
Floss Once a Day
Dentists also recommend that you floss once a day. Flossing removes food particles and plaque from the spaces between your teeth. It also reaches the part of your tooth that sits against the gum line to remove the plaque that builds up there. Sometimes pregnancy can cause swelling or inflammation of the gums which can lead to bleeding when you floss. Be sure to floss gently and rinse your mouth afterwards. If you have severe bleeding you should contact your dentist, because you may have gum disease that needs to be treated.
Use Anti-Cavity Mouthwash
Your dentist may recommend that you rinse your mouth with an anti-cavity mouthwash during pregnancy, if you don’t already. Mouthwash can eliminate extra bacteria in your mouth and prevent it from causing cavities in hard to reach places. Mouthwash with fluoride can also help to strengthen tooth enamel.
Keep Your Regular Dental Appointments
Don’t skip or cancel your routine dental cleaning because you are pregnant. Preventative care appointments are more important now than ever. There is no risk to pregnant mothers or their unborn babies to have a teeth cleaning and exam. Be sure to tell your dentist you are pregnant and postpone any X-Rays until your next appointment. The second trimester is usually the best time to schedule your appointment, because you’re likely past the morning sickness phase but it’s not yet too uncomfortable to lay on your back in the dental chair.
Eat Nutrient-Rich Foods
What you eat has a big impact on your oral health. Eating foods rich in vitamins and calcium such as vegetables and dairy foods can help strengthen your enamel and prevent cavities. Eating crunchy vegetables like carrots and celery throughout the day will help to remove plaque from your teeth. Avoid highly acidic or sugary foods and drinks that can be damaging to your teeth and feed cavity-causing bacteria.
Avoid Smoking and Tobacco Use
Smoking and the use of tobacco products is harmful to your health under any circumstances, especially when you’re pregnant. And it is particularly harmful to your oral health, as it increases your risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. It can be difficult to quit, but there are many programs available to help you beat the habit.
Protect Your Teeth From the Effects of Morning Sickness
Morning sickness during pregnancy can cause vomiting, which brings stomach acid up into your mouth. This can be extremely damaging to your tooth enamel. But you can prevent the damage from occurring with a simple baking soda rinse. Mix one teaspoon of baking soda with water and rinse after vomiting or first thing in the morning to protect your teeth from potential vomiting that may occur later.
Dental Associates Can Help You Maintain Your Oral Health During Pregnancy
If you’re looking for a dentist to help you keep your teeth healthy during your pregnancy and after, Dental Associates is currently accepting new patients. We provide a complete range of dental services from preventative care to restorations to cosmetic dentistry.