If you’re pregnant, you know that maintaining your health is of the upmost importance. But did you know that pregnancy can greatly impact your oral health as well? Here are a few reasons why you should be particularly diligent about maintaining the health of your teeth and gums throughout the next nine months.
1. Pregnancy Gingivitis
During your second month of pregnancy, you may begin to notice that your gums have become inflamed or bleed more often when you brush your teeth. This is known as pregnancy gingivitis. Gingivitis is an infection of the gums that, if left untreated, can lead to gum disease. This condition can often worsen up until the eighth month of your pregnancy, but it will typically resolve itself once the baby has been born. That said, it is important to take extra care of your gums during this period, as gum disease has been linked to complications in pregnancy, including premature birth.
Luckily, there are a few ways that you can combat the effects of pregnancy gingivitis. First, be certain to maintain a solid dental hygiene routine. This includes brushing your teeth at least twice per day and flossing nightly. It is also in your best interest to brush your teeth after each meal, as this will remove food residue that can lead to the release of harmful acids on your teeth and gums. Ultimately, by being diligent about your dental hygiene routine, you can maintain the health of your gums and of your pregnancy.
2. Dental Decay
Have you been suffering from morning sickness during your pregnancy? If so, there is an increased possibility that you may suffer from tooth decay as a result. The acids in your mouth as a result of frequent vomiting can slowly wear away at the enamel, causing painful decay that may require restorative treatments down the road. To combat the effects of morning sickness on your dental enamel, you might consider rinsing with a water and baking soda mixture, as this can improve the pH balance of your mouth and neutralize the acids that wear away at your teeth. Remember: do not brush your teeth immediately after you’ve been sick, as this can further facilitate the erosion process on your dental enamel.
3. Dry Mouth
You may be surprised to discover that you’re more prone to dry mouth throughout your pregnancy. Put simply, this condition occurs when your salivary glands do not produce enough saliva to keep your mouth moist. Saliva plays a critical role in washing away bacteria that can cause tooth decay and halitosis (bad breath), so dry mouth can be quite harmful to your oral health. To combat these effects of dry mouth, you might consider chewing sugarless gum that contains the ingredient xylitol—this has been proven to reduce the harmful bacteria that damages your oral health. You should also make sure to keep hydrated and drink plenty of water.
One of the best ways to ensure you’re in good oral health throughout your pregnancy is to schedule a routine dental check-up. When visiting Oak Park Dental Group, be sure to mention your pregnancy so that we can customize our treatment accordingly! Our highly trained dental professionals will ensure that you remain in good oral health throughout the course of your pregnancy. Simply call our offices today to schedule your next appointment!