November 2, 2021
Nothing is more exciting than awaiting the arrival of your little bundle of joy. As you focus on getting the nursery ready and go through the nesting phase, don’t forget to keep your smile a priority. Pregnancy can lead to certain oral health issues, like tooth decay. Although you may believe only your smile is at risk, specific dental problems can affect your unborn baby. Gum disease alone is linked to premature delivery and low birth weight. Don’t worry, here’s what you need to know to safeguard your smile and developing baby.
Pregnancy-Related Dental Concerns
Your body goes through some amazing changes while your baby grows inside of you. Unfortunately, some of them can have a negative impact on your smile. Your oral and general health are entwined, so a healthy smile is more important than ever. Besides caring for your teeth and gums at home, you should also see your dentist for a cleaning and checkup. Contrary to common belief, it is safe to maintain your dental appointments to keep pregnancy-related oral health issues at bay, such as:
- Gingivitis: Hormonal changes will make you prone to “pregnancy gingivitis.” Your gums may bleed, swell, or feel tender, especially when brushing and flossing. You don’t want to ignore the infection because it can enter your bloodstream. The bacteria responsible for gingivitis is connected to low birth weights and pre-term deliveries.
- Tooth Decay: Morning sickness can make your life miserable, but it can also harm your smile. Vomiting bathes your teeth in the acids from your stomach, which can erode your enamel. Not to mention, you’re likely doing more snacking that’s exposing your teeth to cavity-causing bacteria. Compromised enamel from morning sickness combined with frequent sugar consumption can create a recipe for disaster.
- Pregnancy Tumors: Pregnancy tumors can appear on the gums. The overgrowth of tissue isn’t cancerous, but it can bleed easily. Typically, the tumors are caused by excess plaque and subside after giving birth.
Safeguard Your Mouth and Baby
You can keep your smile healthy and protect your developing child by committing to your dental care. Your dentist recommends:
- Brushing After Every Meal: If you’re snacking more often, it’s best to brush after every meal instead of twice per day.
- Flossing: Use high-quality dental floss to clean between each tooth daily.
- Watching What You Eat: Although you may have a sweet tooth, choose healthier alternatives instead of sugary or starchy foods.
- Visiting Your Dentist: Maintain your semi-annual appointments for a cleaning and checkup. Be sure to let your dentist know you’re pregnant.
With a few simple changes to your daily routine, you can spend more time focusing on your growing family instead of worrying about your dental health.
About Dr. Mark D. Medaugh
Dr. Medaugh earned his dental degree from the University of Pennsylvania and regularly continues his training to provide preventive, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry. He is a member of various professional organizations, including the American Dental Association. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment for a cleaning and checkup.
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