Pregnancy is an exciting and special time. With so much to think about and prepare for, we know that your oral health may be one of the last things on your mind.
When our patients find out that they’re pregnant, we encourage them to reach out to the dentist as soon as possible. As your body goes through the many hormonal changes that go along with pregnancy, those changes can affect your teeth. One of the most notable changes is an increase in progesterone, which unfortunately makes you more susceptible to gingivitis, loose teeth, and decay.
Even though expecting mothers have a lot to deal with, we encourage pregnant patients to keep up with their hygiene habits and contact the dentist.
Symptoms of Gingivitis in Pregnant Women
If you experience pain or bleeding while brushing, that’s a common sign that you have gingivitis. Other common signs include:
- Tender, puffy gums
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
- Bleeding gums
- Swollen gums
- Red gums
Your chance for developing these issues peaks during the third trimester. It’s not a bad idea to schedule an extra cleaning during this time. That way, your dentist can clear away lingering tartar and take a peek to make sure you don’t have any issues.
Many pregnant women are concerned about the radiation from X-rays harming their developing baby. While historically, this may have been the case, rest assured that modern X-rays pose no harm to pregnant women or developing babies.
4 More Oral Health Tips for Pregnant Women
Keep Up With Your Dental Hygiene. Brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting the dentist twice a year are always good advice for everyone. If your gums feel extra tender, try switching to a soft bristle brush. Flossing is another important component, and even though it’s easy to cut out at the end of a long day, if you keep up with it, you’ll thank yourself later! Regular flossing is one of the most important steps you can take for keeping your gums healthy.
Eat a Nutritious Diet. This is important, not just for your teeth, but for the health of your entire body and the development of your baby. Make sure you vary the types of food you eat, and get plenty of:
- Dairy products (if you’re not lactose intolerant)
- Whole Grains
Gargle With Sea Salt. If your gums feel very inflamed, gargling with salt water can offer some relief. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of sea salt in a cup of warm water. Gargle for 30 seconds and then spit it out.
Visit Your Dentist. Everyone needs to see the dentist every 6 months, and it’s especially important for pregnant women. It’s a good idea to schedule a cleaning during your third trimester when you’re most vulnerable to gum disease.
The best thing to do for your oral health is to inform your dentist as soon as you learn the news that you’re expecting. You can trust your dentist to keep the pregnancy completely confidential.