As an expecting mother, I thought I would share some useful information about pregnancy and your oral health.
Seeing the Dentist
It is recommended that you see your dentist for a checkup and cleaning during your pregnancy. Though it is safe to provide dental treatment throughout pregnancy, it is recommended that you go in your second trimester when you will likely be the most comfortable. If you do get a cavity or notice anything unusual on your gums, you should see your dentist regardless of where you are in your pregnancy timeline. Let your provider know that you are pregnant and how far along you are so that they can best accommodate you. The relationship between periodontitis (gum and jaw bone disease) and its effect on preterm, low birth weight infants is still being studied, but if you have a history of gum disease, it is important to see your dentist and hygienist regularly.
What You May Notice
There are several changes that occur in your mouth during pregnancy. If you suffer from morning sickness and vomiting, it is important to wait one hour after an episode before brushing your teeth. In the meantime, it’s a good idea to rinse with a cup of water mixed with one teaspoon of baking soda. You want to minimize erosion to your teeth after stomach acid exposure. Also, you may notice your gums looking red and are even bleeding. This is due to the effects of your hormones changing. Usually these changes come about during your second trimester and peak in the 8th month of pregnancy. Most women find their front teeth are affected more often than their back teeth.
Changes You Can Make
Maintaining good oral health is very important during pregnancy for both you and your little bundle of joy. You can do this with brushing, flossing, eating a healthy diet, and seeing your dentist. By improving your oral health, you will decrease bacteria in your own saliva. This will reduce the transfer of cavity-causing bacteria to baby. Talk to your dentist about chewing xylitol gum to help minimize the mother-child transmission of this bacteria.