12 Tips on How to Keep Your Mouth Healthy During Pregnancy
One of the main changes in a pregnant woman’s body, besides the obviously growing baby, happens in the mouth. It is estimated that 60 to 70 percent of all pregnant women experience pregnancy-related gingivitis or gum disease, and are at increased risk for other dental and gum conditions such as cavities and severe periodontal disease.
At the heart of these changes is the change in hormone levels which affect saliva production and limit the body’s natural ability to flush away food particles and bacteria. But there are other causes as well. Vomiting and cravings for sugary foods can make the issue worse.
Follow the tips below to keep your mouth healthy and reduce the risk of the pregnancy-related dental issues and dental-related complications.
1) Make sure your dentist knows about any gum issues you are experiencing, and that you continue with your regularly schedule dental check ups even while pregnant.
2) Switch to a softer toothbrush and brush more regularly, at least twice a day, with a fluoride toothpaste if you’re not already.
Dental Health and Morning Sickness
3) Don’t brush your teeth immediately after vomiting because brushing can actually scratch tooth enamel on teeth still covered in stomach acids. Wait at least an hour before brushing.
4) After vomiting, rinse with water and then with a fluoridated mouthwash, or use your finger to smear fluoridated toothpaste over your teeth, then rinse thoroughly with water.
5) If you experience retching while trying to brush molars, try using a toothbrush with a small head (like a children’s toothbrush).
6) Slow down your brushing technique.
7) Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing or use some other form of distraction.
8) Change toothpaste flavors if you find that the taste may be provoking your gag reflex.
Dental Health and Diet
9) If you can’t reduce your intake of sugary snacks, rinse your mouth with water or milk or brush your teeth following the snack.
10) Increase your calcium intake through milk, cheese, yogurt. Calcium supplements are also available.
11) Take Vitamin D to help increase your body’s absorption of calcium.
12) Maintain good oral hygiene habits before and between pregnancies. This will lower the likelihood of experiencing severe dental problems while pregnant.
Darlene Oakley is a freelance writer for EmpowHER.com.
Teeth and Pregnancy. Better Health Channel. Web. Feb 15, 2012.
Women’s Oral Health. Illinois Department of Public Health Division of Oral Health. Web. Feb 15, 2012.
Pregnancy. American Dental Association. Web. Feb 15, 2012.