Thursday, August 8, 2019

Pregnancy and Oral Care: 5 Things Every Mom Should Know

With pregnancy, your body goes through a multitude of changes. You’ve probably made lots of lifestyle changes too, to take care of yourself, and your growing little one. Some of these include changes to your diet - eating healthy, avoiding certain foods, taking vitamins, and getting lots of sleep, and moderate exercise. 

Did you know that there are special things to consider for your oral health during pregnancy? Your oral health is very important to the overall health of you and your baby. Pregnant mothers with poor oral health have a greater risk of developing serious complications such as: 
- delivering preterm
- delivering a baby with low birth weight
- having preeclampsia

It is important to take care of your oral health. Here are five things that every pregnant mom should be aware of. 

Pregnancy Gingivitis

With pregnancy comes hormone changes, and these hormones can have an effect on your oral health as well as on your body and your mood. One thing to keep an eye out for is pregnancy gingivitis. 

Pregnancy gingivitis is when your gums can become swollen and irritated, from bacteria below the gum line. It happens because hormones make your gums more sensitive. 

The best thing to do is to talk to a dental professional. Simcoe Smile Dental is an expert in family dentistry and they might recommend: 
- Extra teeth cleanings until the baby is born
- They could also recommend you keep up with a good oral care routine at home such as brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush, and using a toothpaste designed to fight gingivitis 
- Don’t forget to floss

Pregnancy Tumours

Another ‘fun thing’ that happens to some women during pregnancy is the development of pregnancy tumours on their gums. These look like small “raspberry” like growths on the gums between the teeth, and also happen because of hormonal changes. The tumours are not malignant, not dangerous, and most will go away soon after the baby is born, but they can be irritating. 

If the tumours are bothering you, talk to your dentist, they may be able to safely remove them for you. 

Visiting the Dentist

Visiting a family dentist like Lambton Family Dental for a regular cleaning, and checkups during pregnancy is highly recommended. Be sure to tell your dentist that you are pregnant right away. They can help you determine the best timing for dental procedures, and may postpone some dental work to avoid any unnecessary risks. 

Some dentists will recommend waiting until the second trimester for filling a cavity or other minor procedures. 

You should also avoid the use of x-rays during pregnancy, unless it is an emergency, and then be sure to wear a lead apron to protect your baby from radiation. 

Morning Sickness

Morning sickness can be an unfortunate part of pregnancy for many women. It can also cause problems for your teeth, because acid from your stomach can weaken your tooth enamel, and put you at a higher risk for tooth decay and erosion.

If you vomit from morning sickness, here is what you should do to protect your enamel:
- Rinse your mouth with plain water or a mixture of baking soda and water (1 teaspoon baking soda in one cup of water) right away. Baking soda will neutralize the acid in your mouth and prevent any further erosion
- Wait 30 minutes and brush regularly

Good oral health is an important part of a healthy pregnancy. As you get ready for the big changes ahead, remember to take care of your teeth, practice regular brushing, flossing, and see your dentist.