Congratulations, you are pregnant! This is the most important time for you to be healthy.
Your health — even your dental health — has a direct effect on your baby. It is essential to take care of our teeth, gums and supporting structures in our mouths during these memorable months.
Dental Home Care Tips
1. Brush Your Teeth Properly
Brush your teeth twice daily for a period of two minutes using non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste. Nighttime brushing is the most important — when you sleep, saliva flow is stagnant, your tongue is immobile and plaque can accumulate easily.
Use a small head, soft bristle brush. We like power toothbrushes set on low that beep every 30 seconds.
Floss once daily, preferably before going to sleep.
3. Use Alcohol-Free Fluoride Toothpaste
Using this gentle toothpaste once daily is a great way to care for your teeth.
4. Regarding Diet…
Eat vegetables, fruits, nuts, chicken and fish. Broccoli, leafy greens, cereals and berries are also excellent choices. Keep away from sugar — products such as candy, soda, honey and dried fruit.
Take proper vitamins and supplements as prescribed by your OB.
A baby’s teeth form during the first 3-6 months of your pregnancy, so it’s important to have proper amounts of calcium, protein, phosphorus, Vitamins A, C and D. Folic acid is also important in preventing birth defects.
5. Do NOT smoke
Make sure to visit for checkups and cleanings, possibly three times during your pregnancy. There is a link between gum disease and premature birth and 60-70% of women may experience pregnancy gingivitis, usually between 2-8 months, peaking in the third trimester.
Practicing good oral hygiene, eating a healthy diet and getting dental cleanings are the three pillars for preventing pregnancy gingivitis.
How Pregnancy Affects Oral Health
1. Hormone Levels Increase
Estrogen and progesterone especially increase during this time. Higher levels of progesterone allow for bacteria to stick to food debris and tooth surfaces. This causes a greater accumulation of plaque, which can lead to higher incidents of cavities, gingivitis and periodontitis.
Hormones can make you hungry, causing you to eat more than usual and potentially eat foods that are not healthy. High levels of sugar can lead to dental diseases that can affect the baby.
Hormones also make gums tender, causing them to bleed. This can lead to less brushing and flossing, which exacerbates the problem.
2. Greater Incidences in Cavities
Cavity formation happens with sugar and bacteria, and these bacteria can be passed on to your baby.
3. Gingivitis Tendencies
Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums caused by bacteria. This can be seen in 60-70% of pregnant women. It presents with redness and swelling in the gums, tenderness, bleeding even when brushing lightly, shiny gums, or loose teeth.
4. Periodontal Disease
Periodontitis is a bacterial infection that extends from the gums into the bone that supports the tooth and is a more serious disease than gingivitis. It can lead to tooth loss and bacteremia that that can affect your health as well as the baby’s.
5. Pregnancy Tumors
Pyogenic granuloma, or tumors commonly caused by pregnancy, are NOT cancerous. These are red, raw nodules that present in between teeth are caused by an accumulation of plaque.
6. Tooth Erosion
If you have morning sickness that induces vomiting, stomach acids can erode the enamel of your teeth.
Signs and Symptoms of Dental Problems during Pregnancy
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Mouth sores or lumps
- New spaces between teeth
- Receding gums
- Pus along the gum line
- Gums that are red, swollen, tender, shiny and bleed easily
In-Office Dental Care
Our dental team at 172 NYC Dental wants to celebrate your pregnancy with you. This is indeed a joyous time! By developing a plan of good oral home care, proper nutrition and visiting us, we can assure you maintain a healthy mouth. This leads to your overall health and the birth of a healthy, happy, vibrant baby.