Many pregnant women have questions about how to care for their teeth during pregnancy. This is because pregnancy can cause extra stress on the body, which can affect oral health. However, it is important to practice good dental hygiene, even when pregnant. Keeping up with regular brushing and flossing habits can help reduce the risk of oral health problems during pregnancy. Here are some tips on how to maintain good dental health while pregnant.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
It is important to visit the dental clinic at least once every six months during pregnancy and have your teeth checked. Pregnant women can potentially increase tooth decay and gum disease risk. This is because morning sickness can expose your teeth to acids, and snacking more often puts your teeth at risk due to bacteria in food.
Your dentist will be able to detect any potential issues early and provide the necessary treatment or advice on keeping your mouth healthy throughout your pregnancy. Remember that certain medications used during pregnancy may also affect your oral health. It is important to inform your dentist of any changes in your medication throughout your pregnancy.
Be Mindful of What You Eat
Eating a balanced diet is important for both mother’s and baby’s health, but it can also affect the mother’s oral health. Eating foods high in sugar or carbohydrates can increase the risk of tooth decay, so try to avoid sugary snacks such as candy and soda when possible. Here is a list of food that you can and must eat to protect your oral health during pregnancy:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Protein such as lean meats, fish, eggs, or beans
- Dairy products such as yogurt and cheese
- Whole grains like oatmeal or whole wheat bread
These foods, especially dairy products, are rich in calcium and other minerals that can help protect your teeth from decay. Plus, they are also good for your baby and your overall health.
Brush and Floss Regularly
Brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day can help reduce the risk of cavities during pregnancy. Pregnant women should also use fluoride toothpaste to strengthen tooth enamel and protect against decay. According to studies, expectant mothers who brush thoroughly can reduce the risk of complications in pregnancy and take a step towards reducing the risk of future dental infection in their babies. This also avoids preterm birth, low birth weight, gum disease, and the increased risk of clots.
Using ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste can help strengthen enamel and protect against cavities caused by acidic foods or drinks consumed during pregnancy. Make sure you brush for two minutes each time and reach all areas of your mouth, including back teeth and hard-to-reach spots around crowns or bridges, if applicable.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
In addition to brushing and flossing regularly, it is also important to practice good oral hygiene, such as avoiding smoking or drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Smoking impacts the mother’s general health and contributes to the discoloration of teeth and bad breath. Similarly, drinking alcohol can cause permanent damage to the enamel, which can lead to decay and other dental problems. Here are other ways to practice good oral hygiene:
- Regularly rinse your mouth with water after meals
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush
- Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth hydrated
- If necessary, consult your dentist about fluoride supplements
Remember that you are more sensitive and vulnerable to oral health issues. Don’t try to treat any dental problems yourself. Instead, always seek help from your dentist or doctor if you experience any pain or discomfort in your mouth.
Rinse Your Mouth with Water
Rinsing your mouth with water after each meal can help remove food particles and neutralize acids, reducing the risk of tooth decay. Swish a cup of water around your mouth for 30 seconds after eating to flush away bacteria and prevent plaque buildup in hard-to-reach areas. This is also a great way to prevent bad breath, as the water will help keep your mouth clean and bacteria-free.
Dental Surgery During Pregnancy
In the case of dental surgeries, it is essential to inform your dentist about the pregnancy for safety reasons. The second trimester (weeks 11-20) is the best time for pregnant women to undergo dental procedures. If you have urgent dental surgery, such as a root canal treatment, inform your dentist that you are pregnant.
Depending on the severity of the problem, they may be able to wait until after delivery. If the dental issue becomes uncomfortable, it may need to be treated. However, elective treatments such as teeth whitening should be avoided. These treatments may harm the developing baby and should be postponed until after delivery.
While pregnant women may be more vulnerable to oral health issues, these simple steps can help keep your teeth healthy during pregnancy. Suppose you experience any dental issues or discomfort. In that case, it is important to seek professional advice from your dentist or doctor as soon as possible. You can enjoy a healthy pregnancy and smile confidently with the right precautions.