Why Is Oral Hygiene Important During Pregnancy?

Don't Forget About the Dentist During Pregnancy

pregnant woman brushing teeth
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Pregnancy is a very exciting and busy time. There are so many changes going on in your body and your mouth is no exception. Good oral hygiene is extremely important during pregnancy because the increase of hormone levels can leave your mouth more vulnerable to dental problems from bacteria and plaque.

Pregnancy Gingivitis

One of the most common dental problems associated with pregnancy is a condition known as pregnancy gingivitis, which usually occurs during the first trimester.

Symptoms of pregnancy gingivitis are usually bleeding, swollen, red and tender gums.

Good oral health during pregnancy could also be important to your fetus. Some researchers have suggested that the serious stage of gum disease, periodontitis, could cause premature birth and low birth weight.

Pregnancy and Increased Plaque Build-Up

Pregnancy brings with it big changes in your body, especially in your hormones, and these changes can affect your oral health. Plaque, in particular, can become opportunistic during your pregnancy thanks to these changes, and your previous oral hygiene habits may not be sufficient during pregnancy.

Pregnancy itself doesn't cause plaque, but your body may not be as resistant to or as effective at fighting off plaque. Excessive plaque build up can cause gingivitis, which can then progress to more serious dental issues. If you have gingivitis prior to becoming pregnant, gingivitis can worsen after becoming pregnant.

Seeking regular dental cleanings is very important during pregnancy.

Erosion of Tooth Enamel

Another concern for some expectant mothers who may suffer from regular bouts of morning sickness is the erosion of tooth material. The increased amount of acid in the mouth can wreak havoc on your teeth. To help counter this, you can neutralize the acid present in your mouth by rinsing with a teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in water.

Do this before brushing your teeth to minimize erosion.

Dental X-Rays During Pregnancy

Always tell your dentist and your dentist's staff when you are pregnant. Besides helping them to fully understand your current health and better assess your potential needs, they can also make adjustments to use of anesthetics used in any treatments, or move any x-rays due until after you give birth. Though radiation from x-rays is very low, it is perfectly acceptable to postpone them if you are not comfortable or if your dentist recommends doing so.

Oral Health Tips During Pregnancy

The tips listed here can help you maintain good oral health throughout your pregnancy:

  • Visit your dentist for regular check ups and cleanings. This is the best way to make sure that you are maintaining good oral hygiene.
  • Brush your teeth properly at least twice a day to remove plaque.
  • Floss your teeth daily. Flossing will remove food debris from between the teeth that a toothbrush can't reach.
  • Use an antimicrobial mouth rinse. Antimicrobial mouth rinses can help prevent gingivitis.
  • Brush or scrape your tongue daily to help remove bacteria.
  • Eat nutritious meals and healthy snacks.

Now that you know what to do to protect your oral health, sit back, relax and enjoy this beautiful time in your life. 

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