Good oral health is important for everyone, but it’s even more critical to take care of your teeth and gums when you’re expecting a baby. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect your dental health, especially when you’re battling with morning sickness and food cravings.
Here are some common dental problems you may face while pregnant:
- Pregnancy Gingivitis – Increased levels of the hormone progesterone can cause your gums to react more aggressively to bacterial buildup (plaque) in your mouth. You may experience swelling, tenderness, redness or even bleeding gums, and gingivitis can turn into serious periodontal disease if it’s neglected.
- Sensitive Teeth – If you’re snacking on sweet and acidic foods or vomiting frequently as a result of morning sickness, the enamel of your teeth can get eroded. This causes the dentine or pulp to get exposed, leading to sharp pain while eating hot or cold foods, sour or sweet items, and even brushing or flossing.
- Tooth Decay – Bacterial buildup from food residue increases the chances of tooth decay, especially if you’re eating a lot of sugary or sour foods all day. Neglecting your oral hygiene can increase enamel erosion and tooth sensitivity, cause pain in the mouth and eventually even lead to cavities as well.
Dental problems you face during pregnancy can affect the health of your unborn child, raising the risk of premature birth and related complications. Periodontal disease is a particular danger, so make sure you follow a good oral care routine and get regular checkups throughout your pregnancy.
Dental Care Before Pregnancy
If you’re planning to have a baby, schedule a dental checkup as early as possible. This allows the dentist to clean your teeth, examine your gum tissue for signs of infection, and perform treatment before you actually get pregnant. Some dental procedures cannot be performed during pregnancy, so the earlier the better!
Dental Care During Pregnancy
It’s best not to get dental scaling done till the second trimester, but many routine procedures and some urgent ones can be performed as normal. Postpone all elective treatment until after you’ve delivered your baby, and keep the following tips in mind:
- Schedule routine checkups regularly, and ask your dentist about any special precautions you need to take, as well as any special care they recommend during pregnancy.
- Make sure to inform your dentist if you’re pregnant, and give them a list of any medication, prenatal supplements and nutritional changes recommended by your doctor.
- It’s common for dental x-rays to be viewed with concern, but modern techniques and equipment ensure that both you and your baby will remain safe while these are performed.
- Brush your teeth with a fluoridated toothpaste after every meal and floss at least once a day, to keep gum disease and tooth decay at bay. If you notice any issues, call your dentist for a checkup right away.
- Avoid eating acidic or sugary foods that promote plaque buildup and cavities. Instead, try to reach for fresh fruit juices and crunchy vegetables when you’re craving a snack.
- Don’t let your oral hygiene be affected as a result of morning sickness. If you feel sick while brushing your teeth, consider using an unflavored toothpaste, and rinse your mouth with clean water after vomiting.
- Eat a balanced diet, and include a healthy dose of yogurt, cheese and other dairy products in it. These contain minerals that promote tooth, gum and bone health for both you and your baby.
Dental Care After Pregnancy
You should get a comprehensive dental exam soon after giving birth, so your dentist can check the health of your teeth and gums, as well as begin treatment for any issues that may be present. Whether you’re planning a baby or already pregnant, set up an appointment at Joshua Hong DDS, where an experienced dentist will ensure that both you and the baby get the best dental care possible!