Pregnancy brings with it many changes to the body, some of them unexpected. One such set of changes are the possible changes to your oral health. Though you may not realize it, pregnancy can make you more susceptible to things like gum disease and cavities, and it can even affect you when you give birth.
That’s because of something called pregnancy gingivitis. Pregnancy gingivitis is not caused by poor oral health habits, it is caused by hormones, though having poor oral health habits can cause problems with your pregnancy, too. Pregnancy gingivitis occurs when your gums become red and inflamed, and may even bleed when brushing and flossing.
Unfortunately, this can leave your teeth and gums vulnerable to harmful bacteria which can cause cavities and periodontal disease, which can lead to problems for both the mother and the baby, including low birth rate and premature birth.
To help counteract the effects of pregnancy gingivitis and to protect the teeth and gums, here are some tips for caring for your oral health during pregnancy.
Brush daily, twice a day for two minutes at a time, even if your gums bleed. Brushing your teeth on a regular schedule is important to maintaining your oral health, which is still important during pregnancy, even if your gums do bleed or are tender and sensitive.
Floss your teeth at least once a day. Flossing removes 30 percent of the plaque from the surface of your teeth and is an important step to your oral health routine, pregnant or not.
If your teeth are sensitive or your gums bleed when brushing or flossing, gargle with warm saltwater. This will soothe your gums and help keep them clean.
If you are one of the unlucky mothers-to-be who experience vomiting during pregnancy after vomiting be sure to rinse your mouth well with water before brushing to remove some of the acids on your teeth, as the acid can damage your tooth enamel.
Tell Dr. Abelar at your appointment if you are expecting, as there may need to be modifications to your care during your cleaning (such as no x-rays).
If you’re pregnant and have questions about your oral health, contact Dr. Abelar’s office today and we’ll be happy to help.