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Caring for Your Oral Health During Pregnancy

When to Tell Your Dentist You’re Pregnant

As soon as you know you’re expecting, it’s wise to inform your dentist. Not only are pregnant women supposed to keep up with their biannual checkups, many are actually encouraged to visit the dentist for additional cleanings during the second trimester and early third to keep plaque and tartar at bay.

When scheduling your appointment, inform your dentist how far along you are, and also give him or her an updated list of the medications you are taking, in case they might interfere with any dental work. While certain procedures can be done during pregnancy, others may be postponed to keep you and your baby as safe as possible.

How Pregnancy Affects Your Mouth

Changing hormone levels throughout pregnancy can increase the risk of certain oral health issues, so it’s wise to stay knowledgeable on what to look for.

Pregnancy Gingivitis
Your changing hormones are necessary to help your baby grow, but they can wreak a bit of havoc on your pearly whites. They’re likely to make your gums swell, leading to a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. This may cause your gums to bleed more than usual, and your dentist may recommend additional cleanings to reduce inflammation. While you’re at home, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to reduce irritation and a toothpaste that specifically targets plaque, tartar, and gingivitis. Don’t let flossing fall by the wayside either. Plan to do that at least once a day.

Pregnancy Tumors
Don’t let the name scare you – pregnancy tumors aren’t malignant. Rather, they’re simply small growths that form between your teeth during pregnancy. They look like miniature raspberries, and your dentist can remove them if they are causing you discomfort. But they’ll likely disappear after the birth of your child.

Morning Sickness
Everyone knows morning sickness is one of the least pleasant side effects of pregnancy, but you may not realize the damage it can do to your teeth. The acid from your stomach can erode tooth enamel, so it’s best to swish with baking soda and water (or just water if you’re away from home) immediately after a bout of sickness. This will help neutralize the acid.

As long as you keep your dentist informed of your plans and stay on top of your oral health throughout your pregnancy, you and your little one will be well on your way to strong, clean smiles!

An Expert Weighs In

"You should always tell your dentist about any possible pregnancy. Not only can we help guide you through the changes that your mouth will go through, we can also make sure we choose medications that are safest for you and your baby. Oral health care is very important during pregnancy, and continuing checkups and cleanings are recommended. Make sure you keep in regular contact with your dentist and discuss with them your upcoming or current pregnancy so that you can get a game plan to keep you and your baby healthy and smiling."

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