Dental health is important at every point in your life, but even more so during pregnancy. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can increase your risk for various periodontal diseases. Bleeding and tender gums, periodontitis, and oral tumors are common issues during pregnancy, but shouldn’t be taken lightly. Serious gum diseases can cause infections that can be transferred the baby through the bloodstream. One study even links oral diseases to low birth weights and preterm birth. Should any of these dental problems occur it is important to schedule an appointment with your dentist.
If planning for a pregnancy, it’s a good idea to take care of all preexisting dental problems before hand since existing problems can become worse during pregnancy.
During Your First Trimester
Frequent morning sickness can weaken the enamel on your teeth. It’s important not to brush your teeth immediately after a bout of sickness, but instead rinse your mouth out with water. Mixing a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water to rinse with is also an easy way to neutralize the acid left behind. If brushing your teeth becomes difficult, try switching to less flavorful toothpaste. Also, opt for a softer brush for sensitive gums.
Your first trimester is also the best time to establish a more thorough brushing and flossing routine. In addition to twice daily brushing and daily flossing, try rinsing with an alcohol-free fluoridated mouthwash. This will strengthen enamel and reduce the risk of developing cavities during pregnancy.
Dental work should be limited to the second trimester. During the first and third trimester the baby will be going through important developmental stages of growth. It is important when scheduling your appointment to let Dr. Ritzau know you are expecting.
When scheduling a checkup with Dr. Ritzau, be sure to let us know that you’re pregnant and when you’re due. Let us know all the medications and vitamins you’re taking so we can plan your treatment accordingly. Bring a pillow to keep you and the baby comfortable during your appointment, and be sure to keep your legs uncrossed to promote healthy blood flow.
Most problems will subside after pregnancy. Oral tumors often disappear and gums return to normal. It’s important, however, to continue to maintain good oral hygiene after pregnancy. Studies show that decay-causing bacteria are often transferred to children through contact with their mother’s saliva.
Protecting your teeth is important during every stage of your life, but even more so during pregnancy. If you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant schedule an appointment with Kristen Ritzau, DDS today.