Pregnant? Congrats! Now don't forget to keep your teeth clean!

When you're thinking of trying or are already pregnant, there are a lot of things on your mind. You may be dreaming about what your baby might look like, or planning what changes to make in your home for a new baby. Along with the excitement, there are stresses involved with the coming changes, too. With all of this emotion, your teeth and gums are likely the last things on your mind.

 

Dental health has more of an impact on our overall health than most people realize and your pregnancy doesn't change this fact. In fact, pregnancy hormones can do a number on your teeth and gums that can have an effect on your baby. Pregnancy can also increase your risk of developing gum disease. It's very important to have good oral health during this exciting time.

Make appointments beforehand

If possible, try to schedule a dentist appointment before you get pregnant. This way, your teeth will be professionally cleaned, and any problems can be addressed before pregnancy. It is not out of the norm for women to make certain appointments while planning for pregnancy; just add a dentist visit to that list!

However, don't let the fact that you are already pregnant keep you from making an appointment. It is very important to have your teeth and gums checked while pregnant. Obviously your dentist needs to know you are expecting and you also need to make them aware of any medications or prenatal vitamins you are taking. Your dentist will likely avoid any dental x-rays during your pregnancy unless it is an oral emergency. If you do experience a dental emergency, know that your dentist will take utmost precautions during this time and make decisions based on the well-being of your baby.

Protect your gums

Because of the rapidly changing hormones in your body, pregnancy can put you at a high risk for periodontal disease and pregnancy gingivitis. Both of these conditions affect the health of your gums. If your gums become red and swollen or bleed, you need to call your dentist to have this checked out as soon as possible. This can be very harmful to you and your baby—bacteria can enter the bloodstream through the gums and travel to the uterus—and you'll want to make sure you get it treated immediately.

The best thing you can do for your teeth and gums during pregnancy, is to practice good oral health. If you are craving sweets, try replacing those sugary snacks with fruit instead. Eating healthy will also help your baby develop strong teeth, which is extremely important. 

One of the worst things about being pregnant is if you are unlucky enough to experience morning sickness. Oftentimes, women who are experiencing morning sickness have a hard time brushing their teeth because the act of doing so is so unpleasant. It is worthwhile to purchase several different brands of toothpaste and see which one you can tolerate. The bland ones seem to be the easiest to use. It is so important that you do not skip thorough brushings during this time.

Take time for you after the birth

After you've delivered and completed your postnatal appointments, make a dental appointment to check on your teeth and gums. If your dentist has put anything off until after delivery, get it taken care of immediately. New moms are extremely busy, but don't put off taking care of yourself! You need to be in good health to take care of that beautiful new baby, and that includes taking care of your teeth and gums. 

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