Preparing Your Teeth for Pregnancy

by Jason 8/23/2012 8:01 AM

Pregnancy is a unique time in your life, one filled with lots of questions and the desire to set you and your baby up for the best lives possible. So, how do your teeth play a part in that?

Hormonal changes during pregnancy, particularly increases in progesterone, can exaggerate the way your gum tissue reacts to plaque, according to the American Dental Association (ADA).

If dental plaque isn’t removed, it can cause gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. So-called “pregnancy gingivitis” affects some pregnant women, usually during the second to eighth months of pregnancy. 

Some women also experience “pregnancy tumors,” or overgrowths of gum tissue, during their second trimester. These are red growths related to excess plaque that are usually found between the teeth, and they are often surgically removed once the baby is born.

So, what can you do to prevent trouble?

  • To prevent gum disease, brush gently with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day, paying special attention to the gum line.
  • Floss at least once a day. 
  • Eat a balanced diet. If you snack, do so in moderation.
  • Schedule a complete dental checkup before you become pregnant or early in your pregnancy. Your dentist may want you to get more frequent cleanings during your pregnancy, especially during your second trimester and early in the third trimester if it’s deemed necessary.
  • If you need help controlling plaque, your dentist may recommend an antimicrobial mouth rinse.
  • If you have morning sickness and are vomiting frequently, try rinsing with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water. If possible, avoid brushing your teeth directly after vomiting. When stomach acid repeatedly comes into contact with teeth, the effects of erosion can eventually cause tooth enamel to wear away.

For more information about how to protect your oral and overall health during pregnancy, click here. And for information about your baby’s oral health, go here.

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