If you’re pregnant – or planning to become pregnant – chances are you know some of the basics about being healthy for you and your baby. Eat a balanced diet. Don’t smoke. But did you know that your oral health becomes increasingly important when you’re planning to become pregnant and during pregnancy?
Here are some reasons why and how you can ensure you and your baby have healthy smiles:
- Having a healthy mouth is always important. But pregnancy can actually intensify dental disease. Minor dental problems you had before you became pregnant could worsen. If you’re thinking about becoming pregnant or already are – ramp up your oral health habits. Brush your teeth twice daily and floss once a day. Make sure to schedule a dentist appointment within the first trimester.
- Most moms-to-be experience cravings. Additional snacking on sugary foods can lead to increased tooth decay. Try to limit foods containing sugar to mealtimes only. If you do give into one of those Oreo cravings, drink a glass of water while you’re eating and brush your teeth once you’re done.
- Nausea and vomiting affects 80 percent of all pregnant women. Stomach acid from vomiting can erode your teeth. If you’re one of the unlucky ones who suffer from “morning sickness,” make sure to rinse your mouth out with water and baking soda solution afterward. The combination will neutralize the acid. Also brush your teeth gently and chew Xylitol gum.
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy can exaggerate the way your gum tissue reacts to plaque, increasing your risk for gingivitis, the first stage of periodontal (gum) disease. To prevent “pregnancy gingivitis,” take extra care and time brushing and flossing.