When it comes to an expectant mother's oral hygiene routine, hormonal swings, morning sickness, and pregnancy cravings all play a role in the need for increased vigilance. Choosing healthy snacks, drinking lots of water, keeping an eye on signs of gum disease, and maintaining regular dental visits prevent the onset of dental health problems while also minimizing risks that may occur during pregnancy. Here are three ways to maintain a good oral health.
- Diet and hydration. It is not uncommon for women to experience heightened appetite and food cravings during pregnancy. There is nothing wrong with the occasional treat, but sugary snacks should be kept to a minimum. Drinking ample water helps wipe out the acids that accompany nausea and heartburn from pregnancy while decreasing the risk of tooth decay. If morning sickness is an issue, have a dentist recommend toothpastes with a bland taste that will allow you to keep brushing your teeth without nausea.
- Gum disease symptoms. Mothers who have prior periodontal issues are more likely to have premature labor and babies with low birth weights. Gum disease is also harmful for a woman's teeth and gums. Signs of gum disease include significant bleeding, tenderness, gum swelling, redness, and gums pulling away from the teeth.
- Routine dental visits. Regular dental exams and cleanings ensure that most oral health issues are prevented and maintained. While many dental treatments and x-rays are safe for pregnant women, it is a best practice to inform a dentist of pregnancy so that he or she can take any necessary safety precautions and do everything possible to ensure comfort throughout the teeth exam and cleaning. Make sure to give the dentist a list of the names and dosages of your current medications, including prenatal vitamins, as well as any specific medical advice that pertains to your pregnancy.