Congratulations on the incoming newest member of your family! With many preparations to be made and a plethora of changes to your body, it can be easy to forget about your oral health. Like the rest of you, your teeth will be affected by your pregnancy and will need to be well looked after during this critical time.
You’ll experience increased levels of hormones like estrogen and progesterone while pregnant. These have widespread effects across your body, but we’ll be focusing on your oral health. A few months into your pregnancy, you may experience pregnancy gingivitis, which is an inflammation of your gum line caused by changing hormone levels. Your gums may be red, swollen, and tender to the touch. Combat this with regular brushing using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Ensure your brush strokes are gentle so you don’t cause tearing in your gums. Also take time to floss carefully to avoid further risk of infection. With some basic management, pregnancy gingivitis should resolve once your child is born.
Morning sickness introduces harmful stomach acid to your teeth, which can expedite the degradation of tooth enamel. Your tooth enamel is the hard white outer layer of your teeth, and is made up of minerals that help protect the softer inner tooth layers. Acid increases the rate at which this enamel breaks down, causing weakened and yellow-looking teeth. Make sure that you rinse your mouth well after a bout of morning sickness, preferably also using a fluoride-infused mouthwash. Wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth to allow residual acid to dissipate, as brushing your teeth right away can actually do more harm than good.
Your oral health is tightly linked to your diet. When pregnant, making healthy food choices is more important than ever. From an oral health perspective, calcium is of particular importance as it’s one of the key minerals that make up tooth enamel. Your baby will also require plenty of calcium for their bones and teeth development. Look for dairy products like milk and cheese to supplement your diet with calcium. Aim to eat plenty of dark leafy green and a variety of vegetables to ensure that your vitamin intake is sufficient. Remember, you’ll have to eat enough to feed for two!
Practicing strong and healthy oral hygiene habits will have positive effects on your newborn and protect your smile. It’s important to stay educated about the changes that your body is undergoing to ensure both you and your baby are healthy. Centennial Smiles is ready to answer any further questions you may have. You can reach us at (587) 317‑7959.