If you are pregnant, first of all, congratulations! Pregnancy obviously brings about some big changes – including to your oral health routine. That’s because pregnancy hormones can sometimes wreak havoc on the gums, making gingivitis and bleeding gums much more likely. Even if your teeth and gums are in perfect health, you still may experience the phenomenon known as pregnancy gingivitis. But never fear – there are some things you can do to help reduce your risk of both pregnancy gingivitis and full-blown gingivitis while pregnant.
Why Is Gingivitis So Dangerous?
Gingivitis and periodontal disease in an expectant mother has been shown to cause low birth weight and preterm labor, so believe it or not, your oral health impacts not just you but your baby as well – and that’s not even taking into account the additional risks of poor oral health like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and more. While there is little that can be done to prevent pregnancy-related gingivitis, there are things you can do to reduce your risk and keep your oral hygiene on point before, during and after pregnancy.
Visit the Dentist
So, what can be done to improve oral health during pregnancy? For starters if you are trying to conceive, give yourself an oral health checkup. A visit to Dr. Abelar’s office can get your oral health on the right track for a healthy pregnancy. It’s also a good idea to visit at least once during pregnancy, especially if your gums are bleeding or you notice changes like puffiness and redness.
Change Your Paste
Sometimes during pregnancy your tastes change, as does your tolerance for certain flavors of toothpaste. The good news is there are many different flavors available, from mint to cinnamon to lemon and even chocolate. Whatever your preference, there’s likely to be a paste to match. You can even use baking soda and water if you are too sensitive to flavors.
Brush More Frequently
Sometimes during pregnancy your meal schedule is off. Maybe you snack more or less than you used to. But remember to brush after eating as often as possible. You may also want to switch to a softer-bristled brush if your gums are bleeding.
Up Your Calcium
Most likely you are already taking prenatal vitamins, but eating foods throughout your pregnancy that are rich in folic acid and calcium will help not only you, but also the oral and skeletal health of your baby. Can’t stomach kale right now? Morning sickness is a common pregnancy problem. If you are vomiting, protect your teeth from acid by rinsing well and brushing afterward. You may also want to try chewing sugarless gum.
To learn more about pregnancy oral care, please contact Dr. Abelar at (858) 866-9692.