Pregnancy and Oral Hygiene

Pregnancy and Oral Hygiene

Apr 07, 2016
Pregnancy brings many changes to the female body. One you may not expect is changes in your oral health. Surging hormones can cause your gum tissues to magnify a normal reaction to plaque. The increase of progesterone may encourage bacteria growth, causing pregnancy gingivitis. Symptoms are noticeable around the second month of pregnancy. Gums are red and swollen, and may bleed during brushing. This discomfort will generally not cease until after the birth. With proper oral hygiene at home and visits to your dental clinic, your teeth should remain healthy throughout pregnancy.

Prevent Enamel Erosion

Vomiting exposes teeth to corrosive stomach acids. Repeated regurgitating will break down enamel, increasing the probability of decay. The highly acidic vomit softens enamel, leaving it susceptible to damage. Even gently brushing with a soft-bristle toothbrush is a bad idea. Rinse with plain water, followed by a good fluoridated mouthwash. Wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth.

Hydrate a Dry Mouth

Pregnancy-induced hormone shifts can also lead to a decrease in saliva. This is uncomfortable, and bad for your oral health. Saliva washes away debris and controls bacteria in your mouth. If you are not producing enough, your teeth and gums are more prone to plaque buildup, cavities and pregnancy gingivitis. Drink plenty of water and swish it around your mouth to wash away bacteria and keep dry mouth under control. It is very important to be diligent about oral hygiene during pregnancy. Dental care should include brushing with a quality toothbrush for two full minutes twice daily, flossing daily and using an antimicrobial, fluoridated mouthwash. In addition, healthy eating should be a priority, for both a healthy pregnancy and maintaining oral health. Consuming greens, carrots, nuts and milk are associated with healthy teeth and gums. Stay away from foods that are high in sugar and starch, which create a friendly environment for bacteria. Also, visit your dentist regularly and keep him/her up-to-date with your current stage of pregnancy.