When you’re pregnant, nine months can go by very quickly. Between doctors’ appointments, seeking out daycare, baby showers and interviewing perspective pediatricians, it’s hard to fit everything in. However, one of the things a mother-to-be should never neglect is her oral health. Here’s why it’s important to follow through on your dentist’s appointments and keep up with oral care throughout your pregnancy.
- Morning Sickness. Morning sickness can have a disastrous effect on your teeth. That’s because the acids that are produced during vomiting can actually erode your teeth. The same is true of acid reflux and heartburn. If you experience morning sickness, never brush your teeth immediately after throwing up – that practice can actually grind the acid into your teeth. Instead, rinse your mouth out with water, swishing vigorously before spitting. Adding a bit of baking soda can help to neutralize the acid and won’t harm teeth.
- Night Cravings. While many women crave healthy foods during pregnancy or make a conscientious effort to avoid processed foods and sugary treats, some women opt for snacks that are sticky and sweet. And that doesn’t mean only candy! Craving-busters like the sticky sauces used in Chinese carry-out and the catsup on fries are all packed with the kind of sweeteners that invite plaque. If your cravings come at midnight or at an odd hour, you may forego brushing until morning; that’s the worse thing you can do because it allows bacteria time to accumulate in your mouth which can cause cavities and decay.
- Inflammation of the gums, commonly known as gingivitis, occurs when layers of bacteria form plaque on your teeth. Remember those hormones that gave you the best hair day since your senior prom? Those are the same hormones that cause gingivitis. To avoid gingivitis, be sure to practice good oral hygiene; you may want to experiment with different gels and toothpastes until you find the one that agrees with your ever-changing taste buds.
- Extreme cases of gum disease, or periodontitis, not only put the mother’s health at risk, it can also impact a baby’s birthweight which could result in premature birth. Left untreated, periodontitis may also increase a mother’s susceptibility to develop pre-eclampsia.
A Plan for Healthy Mouth
By adhering to these tips, you can ensure you have a healthy mouth throughout your pregnancy.
- Don’t cancel check-ups. It is perfectly safe to have routine dental check-ups during pregnancy. However, before undergoing any sort of elective dental procedure, speak first with your obstetrician – depending on the procedure you may want to hold off until after baby is born. And never forget to tell your hygienists, technicians, and dentist that you are pregnant to ensure they take proper precautions.
- Watch for Interactions. Be wary of supplements like fluoride, which can strengthen teeth but also may interact with prenatal vitamins or medications that have been previously prescribed.
- Increase your cleanings. As cavities are more prevalent during pregnancy. You may even want to consider having your teeth cleaned every trimester to keep on top of plaque and keep cavities and gum disease at bay.
- Consider a sealant. Once plaque is removed and teeth are thoroughly cleaned the dentist can place a dental sealant over teeth to prevent the penetration of bacteria. The plastic covering is applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars. This protects them from decay.
- Snack often to prevent nausea. Always keep a light snack, like crackers or rice cakes, with you to keep nausea in check and prevent vomiting.
- Brush and floss regularly, including between meals.
My Dentist in Pompano
Welcoming a new baby into your home is a cause for smiles all around. That’s why it’s important to keep up with your oral care throughout your pregnancy. If you are looking for a great family dentist in Pompano Beach, look no further than My Pompano Dentist, where Dr. Andrew Browne looks forward to working with you for a lifetime of beautiful, healthy smiles. To request an appointment with Dr. Browne, call (954) 941-2412 today, or request an appointment online.