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Being a mother is one of the toughest jobs in the world. It’s an unfortunate reality that going through pregnancy will result in changes to your hormone levels and therefore changes to your oral cavity. In particular, changes in the content of your saliva can have a drastic impact on your teeth and gums. Moreover, once your baby is finally here, what aspects of their oral hygiene should you be concerned about?
It’s not uncommon for pregnant women to have swollen gums and that are tender to the touch. Sometimes, even regular brushing and flossing aren’t enough to prevent this. During pregnancy, the changing hormone levels alter the microenvironment of your mouth, causing your gums to become less resilient against the waves of bacteria that are looking to colonize it. Unfortunately, there’s not too much you can do about this, but you should still continue to practice healthy oral hygiene habits to prevent a bad situation from getting any worse. Severe gum disease can actually have an effect on your unborn baby, which is definitely something that you’ll want to avoid. Ensure you’re brushing and flossing regularly, and check in with your dentist to make sure that everything is as normal as it can be.
Besides pregnancy gingivitis, you and your dentist will want to be on the lookout for signs of tooth decay. Your risk for cavities increases during pregnancy for a variety of reasons. An increased intake of carbohydrates, for example, increases the level of “bad” bacteria in your mouth. Morning sickness exposes your teeth to high levels of acid, which wears down enamel quickly. More rarely, pregnancy tumours may develop in the mouths of some women. These will look pretty scary and bleed easily, but they should disappear after your baby is born. Talk with your dentist if you’re experiencing this.
Just because your new baby has yet to grow any teeth doesn’t mean that their mouth shouldn’t be kept clean. Use a soft-bristled brush specific for babies to gently massage their gums to prevent bacteria from colonizing. Monitor your newborn’s oral hygiene carefully, and look for areas of redness or swelling. Introduce your newest member of the family to us earlier rather than later so we can get to know their mouth and give you some tips as well. When your baby’s first tooth comes in, take them in for a quick checkup to make sure that everything is in order. In the meantime, you can also introduce them to some tooth-friendly soft food options.
Pregnancy is a scary but exciting time for you and your baby. Make the most of it by educating yourself! Centennial Smiles Dental is more than happy to help. Reach us at (587) 317‑7959.