Prioritize Oral Health During Pregnancy for Happy Mom and Baby
During pregnancy, nearly everything about your life is changing. You’re preparing to welcome your new baby into the world, and doing everything possible to give yourself the care, nutrients, and rest that you need. Make sure to include your oral health in your list of top priorities. A recent Cigna study found that while 76% of pregnant women in the U.S. experience some kind of dental problem, 43% don’t visit the dentist. We know you have a lot on your plate, but dental exams need to be a part of your pregnancy.
Your gums are especially vulnerable while you’re expecting, and the last thing you need is to suddenly be faced with gum disease. That’s dangerous for both you and your baby-to-be, and can even lead to complications with your delivery. Fortunately, gingivitis (the first stage of gum disease) is avoidable, and we’ll help you keep it at bay. If you or a friend or relative is pregnant, share the tips below and make them a part of this special time.
Giving Your Gums the Care They Need During Pregnancy
Practice great oral hygiene – You need to remove plaque before it builds up and begins irritating your gum line. This leads to gingivitis, and can cause infection if the plaque persists. Give your oral hygiene a little extra attention. If you’re finding it difficult to brush, get an electric toothbrush to simplify things. You can also pack a travel oral hygiene kit in your purse/bag so that you’re able to clean your teeth throughout the day.
Be sure to floss – If you’re not usually a big flosser, now is the time to start. Flossing removes plaque from spaces between your teeth and at the gum line, which are tough for a toothbrush to reach. Floss will also help strengthen your gums against irritation. If you’re just starting to floss consistently and notice your gums bleeding or feeling tender, keep flossing – this will soon fade. Your gums just need to get used to the habit.
Watch your gums carefully – Learn the symptoms of gingivitis and be on the lookout for changes at the gum line. If you notice your gums swelling, darkening, or bleeding when touched, schedule an appointment right away.
Eat right – You know how important it is to get well-rounded nutrition during your pregnancy. But be sure to prioritize nutrients that will build your baby’s teeth and assist with healthy tooth development in the months (and years) ahead. Tooth development begins during months 3-6 of pregnancy, even though teeth won’t erupt until a while after the baby is born, so this period is crucial. Get plenty of Vitamin A, C, and D, and also protein, calcium, and phosphorous. Avoiding super sugary or starchy foods will also help prevent plaque buildup and make oral hygiene easier.