Pregnancy & Oral Hygiene

Pregnancy & Oral Hygiene

It goes without saying that being pregnant affects pretty much every area of your life, physically, mentally, and emotionally, so it may not surprise you that it will also affect your oral health.  While these issues should go away after pregnancy, it’s important to continue taking good care of your mouth by brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day.  Here are three things you may experience during pregnancy.

Morning sickness

Morning sickness, which is not actually reserved for mornings only, affects about 70% of pregnant women and is caused by numerous factors including rapidly increasing hormone levels and decreased blood sugar.  Unfortunately for many women, morning sickness causes frequent vomiting.  Vomit can be damaging to teeth because acid from the stomach can cause tooth decay.  If you are suffering from morning sickness, you may be tempted to brush your teeth right after you vomit.  Instead, it is better to rinse your mouth first to neutralize the acid before brushing.  You can simply rinse your mouth with water or mix one teaspoon of baking soda with a cup of water, swish, and spit.  Wait thirty minutes and then brush your teeth.

Your sensitive stomach may also cause you to gag more easily, making routine teeth brushing more difficult.  Brushing more slowly or using a different flavored toothpaste may help.  If you’re feeling particularly nauseated when trying to brush, give yourself a thirty-minute break and then try again.  The most important thing is to still find a time to brush your teeth, even if it’s more difficult.

Bleeding gums

In addition to causing fatigue, nausea, and mood swings, pregnancy hormones are also responsible for a common condition called pregnancy gingivitis.  Hormones can cause the gums to swell and become easily irritated by plaque, which in turn causes the gums to bleed.  The good news is, with good oral hygiene, pregnancy gingivitis usually resolves itself after pregnancy.  Be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush that will be gentle on your sensitive gums, and don’t neglect flossing every day even though your gums may bleed.

Visiting your dentist

Keep in mind that when you are pregnant it is still safe—and recommended—to visit your dentist for regular checkups and dental cleanings.  Routine cleanings and dental X-rays have been proven to be perfectly safe while pregnant.  It is also safe to have dental procedures done such as cavity fillings and crowns during pregnancy.  In fact, in order to prevent infection, it is important not to wait to take care of any issues you may be having.  Doctors recommend trying to take care of these procedures in the first or second trimester because laying back in a dental chair may become much more uncomfortable by the third trimester.

If you are pregnant, we would love to help you with all of your dental needs at Cornerstone Family Dentistry.  From routine dental cleanings to questions or complications you may be having due to pregnancy hormones, please make an appointment with us today!