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Tooth Care During Pregnancy: A Guide For Expecting Mothers

A Pregnant in Dentist Clinic
If you're expecting a baby, your health and body go through many changes. Adapting to those changes can sometimes be challenging or even overwhelming for some women, especially if they have not experienced pregnancy before.

Pregnancy can even affect your oral health. Expecting mothers should make good dental care a priority during pregnancy in order to avoid decay and gum health problems. This guide can help you know what specific care you need during your pregnancy. 

Tooth Exams and Cleaning

Because your pregnancy lasts nine months, you should see the dentist sometime during your pregnancy for your six-month check-up and cleaning. Some women might feel like going to the dentist isn't safe during pregnancy, but this is not true. You should definitely inform your dentist that you are pregnant so that he or she can modify your care if necessary.

If you have terrible nausea and exhaustion during the first trimester, a dentist trip might not be possible for you. If your six-month deadline happens during this time, push the appointment back to the second trimester. Usually, the second trimester is the time when women feel most comfortable during pregnancy because they still lie back comfortably. 

If you're concerned about x-rays, talk to your dentist. The lead covering for x-rays that helps protect your body from radiation can be extended to cover the rest of your body. However, you can do an exam without a set of x-rays, so a fear of x-rays harming your baby should not keep you from the dentist during pregnancy. 

Morning Sickness

Vomiting and nausea are unfortunately common in many women during pregnancy. Morning sickness can occur at any time of day, and it can persist for weeks or even months at a time. This condition can affect your teeth in be exposing the teeth to higher acidity. Throwing up can weaken your tooth enamel, making it easier for cavities to develop. 

You can help protect your teeth from harm by:
  • Not brushing immediately after vomiting. You might think it's important to brush right away, but the acidity of your stomach contents actually makes your enamel soft, and brushing it can make the damage worse.
  • Rinsing out your mouth with water. You can even mix a pinch of baking soda in your water before swishing. This helps to restore a normal pH in your mouth, stopping the damage of the acid in your mouth. 
  • Staying hydrated. Constantly throwing up can dehydrate you. Many women can't drink a whole glass of water at once if they have bad morning sickness. Make it a habit to sip on liquids like water or unsweetened tea throughout the day. Avoid sipping on sodas or juice, since a constant exposure to these liquids can increase the risk of damage. 
  • Brushing your teeth. After several minutes, you can carefully apply toothpaste. Allow the toothpaste to sit on your teeth for a minute or so before brushing gently. You can also rinse with mouthwash to help remove any additional bacteria. 
Morning sickness is one of the greatest threats to your teeth during pregnancy. Talk to your dentist if you're concerned about how it might be affecting your teeth. 

Carbs and Crackers

Pregnant women get hungry faster, and they often need to snack to avoid feeling lightheaded or sick. If you can, try and make snacks tooth healthy. Saltine crackers and other simple carbs are favorites during pregnancy, but these are converted to simple sugar in your mouth and actually promote tooth decay. 

Instead of crackers and dry cereals, your might try snacking on fruits, vegetables, squares of cheese, or nuts. Rinse out your mouth with water after snacking to help reduce plaque build-up. 

For more information on good tooth care during pregnancy, contact us at Heiden Dental Office.