Though it may not be the first thing on your mind when you discover the good news, make it a point to give your dentist a call when you find out you’re pregnant. Ok, maybe not right when you find out… But you get the point.
Why is this important, you ask? The surge of hormones and changes happening in a pregnant woman’s body affect just about everything, including oral health.
Due to higher than usual progesterone levels, your risk for gingivitis, loose teeth, and decay goes up. Even though you understandably have a lot on your plate, it’s important to keep up with your dental hygiene while your teeth are in this vulnerable state.
Signs of Pregnancy-Induced Gingivitis
If you notice anything out of the ordinary, like pain and bleeding while brushing or flossing, you may have gingivitis. Common symptoms include:
- Receding gums
- Swollen gums
- Red gums
- Tender, puffy gums
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
Make sure you keep an eye out for any of these signs, especially around the third trimester when the risk for gingivitis peaks. Consider scheduling an extra cleaning at this time so your dentist can monitor your gums’ health and get rid of any built-up plaque.
And don’t worry, contrary to popular belief it’s perfectly safe for pregnant women to get dental X-rays. Feel free to ask your dentist about any concerns you may have.
4 Tips to Keep Your Teeth Healthy During Pregnancy
Practice Good Oral Hygiene. Continue brushing twice daily, even when you’re not feeling your best. Consider switching to a soft bristle brush if you haven’t already, since your gums may be more sensitive than usual. Don’t neglect flossing! Gingivitis attacks the gums and floss is the only thing that can clean plaque away from in between teeth and gums.
Eat a Healthy & Balanced Diet. We know pregnancy may give you odd cravings at times but try to make sure you eat a balanced diet. Eat lots of:
- Whole Grains
- Dairy Products (if you’re not lactose intolerant)
Eating healthy is good not just for your teeth but also you and your baby. So eat up!
Gargle With Sea Salt. If your gums are tender and inflamed, gargling with sea salt can help. Just dissolve in warm water and gargle for about 30 seconds before spitting the solution out. Use 1 teaspoon of salt for every cup of water.
Go See Your Dentist. Be sure to keep in contact with your dentist and don’t neglect your 6-month visits. Also consider adding an additional visit around the third trimester to keep gingivitis at bay.
Just as you would with your primary care practitioner, it’s a good idea to tell your dentist the good news as early as possible. And you can be sure they will keep the information confidential until you’re ready to tell friends and family in your life.