Be sure to take special care of your teeth and oral health during pregnancy. During this time, it is especially important to avoid oral health habits that could foster bacterial growth, which leads to mouth or gum disease and that could impact the health and weight of your newborn. While many of the benchmarks of good dental hygiene are the same, there are some special recommendations for expectant mothers.
You may find relief from nausea by eating several small meals consisting of healthful foods throughout your day. Naturally, it is encouraged that you eat a variety of things like whole-grains, fruits, and veggies, as well as dairy such as milk, unsweetened yogurt, and cottage cheese during pregnancy. It is important to get at least 600 micro-grams of folic acid during a day during your second and third trimester, so choose foods that are rich in this mineral.
Some foods that are high in folic acid are:
- Beans, peas, and lentils.
- Green leafy vegetables.
- Melon, such as cantaloupe.
- Bananas, papaya, and oranges.
Always inform your dentist of your pregnancy, and make an appointment for an exam if you haven't been seen in the last six months. Dental x-rays are safe during pregnancy, as is the local anesthetic used for routine dental procedures. Pregnancy can cause swelling in the gums and mouth, which may be a sign of gingivitis, which should be treated before it exacerbates to gum disease.
Expectant mothers are encouraged to brush twice-a-day, with a fluoride-enhanced toothpaste. Don't share a toothbrush, and replace it frequently to reduce exposure to bacteria every couple months. If you notice that the bristles are frayed or scraggly, replace it. Some other hygiene habits recommended during pregnancy include:
- Rinse nightly, before bed, with a fluorinated mouth rinse to reduce bacteria.
- If you experience morning sickness or vomiting, rinse your mouth thoroughly with a mixture of water and a little baking soda to neutralize the acid that could wreak havoc on your teeth.
- Chew gum or rinse your mouth after meals to curb bacteria, which could lead to tooth decay.
After you have your baby, continue taking care of your mouth- especially when breast-feeding. Make an appointment with your baby's physician and ask for a six-month oral health risk assessment and examination. It is recommended that new parents take their baby to their first dental appointment by the age of one.
Taking care of your teeth and mouth is never as important as it is when you are pregnant. Unhealthy gums and oral disease can lead to low-weight, premature babies. Follow these tips, and ask your dental provider for additional recommendations, to curb the potential for bacterial growth and dental issues during this special time. Contact a practice, such as St Albert Summit Dental Centre for more help.