You know that oral hygiene is important to maintain throughout your life, but what about during pregnancy? There are some very good reasons to take even better care of your teeth while you’re pregnant because of the hormonal changes that occur. What are some ways to manage your oral hygiene if you’re expecting a baby? And what should you avoid? This post covers the basics of oral hygiene during pregnancy.
Why It’s Important
If you’re expecting a baby, you know that it’s a unique and wonderful part of your life. However, when it comes to oral health, several factors can wreak havoc on your teeth and gums. First, if you experience morning sickness or vomiting, the acid residue can cause plaque and tartar buildup. Another common symptom of pregnancy, fatigue, means that you might not be as rigid about regularly cleaning and flossing your teeth as you normally would. Finally, hormones that help contribute to your baby’s growth throughout pregnancy sometimes leads to gingivitis. Gingivitis, simply put, is inflammation of the gums. If left untreated, gingivitis can eventually lead to periodontal disease and even tooth decay.
Proper oral hygiene during pregnancy helps and protects your baby, too. Research suggests that periodontitis, which occurs with consistent poor oral hygiene or if gingivitis is left untreated, can contribute to preterm labor and babies with low birth weights.
Tips for Oral Care During Pregnancy
So how can you protect your teeth and gums (and your baby) during pregnancy? The best way to do that is to brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day. This practice ensures that you properly remove any sugar residue or leftover food in and between your teeth, which otherwise turns into plaque and later, tartar. For greater peace of mind, brush after every meal. If flossing is difficult, consider investing in a water flosser. Remember to keep some floss with you at work, car or bag to practice good oral hygiene even on the go.
Make sure to keep any regular dental visits during pregnancy. Consider scheduling some extra visits throughout your pregnancy if you want to ensure teeth and gum health. Your dentist will look out for warning signs of gingivitis or periodontitis to help prevent the onset of more severe conditions like tooth decay.
What to Avoid
You may have heard that it’s best to avoid dental radiographs during pregnancy. However, the levels of radiation used in radiographs should not affect you or your baby, although your comfort level is what matters. Dentists often wait until the first appointment after pregnancy to take routine radiographs. At Ascent Dental Care, we offer digital radiographs which give off even less radiation than traditional x-rays. Similar concerns exist for local anesthetic for tooth extraction or a root canal. Make sure to talk to your dentist for more details about the safety of these and other dental procedures during pregnancy.
Contact Ascent Dental Care today to schedule your routine dental checkup or with any other questions about oral hygiene during pregnancy!