Pregnancy is an exciting time for expecting mothers, but it also comes with a lot of responsibilities. One of these responsibilities is dental care, which is often overlooked. However, as your Palo Alto dentist will tell you, dental care during pregnancy is crucial for you and the baby. In this article, we will discuss five dental care tips that you should keep in mind when expecting.
1. Brush and floss daily
Pregnancy can increase your risk of developing dental health issues like gingivitis (a form of gum disease). Actually, almost 60 to 75% of pregnant women have gingivitis. Usually, this condition is known as pregnancy gingivitis.
With this condition, the germs that attack your gums might enter your bloodstream and put the pregnancy at risk. Some of the early warning signs of gingivitis include:
- Bleeding gums
- Sensitive gums and teeth
- Bad breath
- Redness and swelling
- Loose teeth
What can you do to prevent gingivitis? Regular brushing and flossing are always encouraged for good oral health; however, it is even more crucial when pregnant.
Brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day gets rid of the food particles and germs between your teeth and prevents them from turning into plaque – a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth.
If you suspect you have gingivitis, visit the best oral dentist in Palo Alto sooner rather than later. If left unattended, this gum disease can turn into periodontitis, a more serious issue that damages the soft tissue around your teeth.
2. Pay Attention to Your Diet
What you eat when expecting can affect your oral health as well. A balanced diet that includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein can help keep your teeth and gums healthy. Also, increase your daily intake of calcium. Adequate calcium intake minimizes your risk of osteoporosis, ensures your teeth remain healthy, and helps your baby grow strong teeth and bones too.
It is also essential to stay hydrated during pregnancy. Drinking plenty of water can help keep your mouth moist and prevent dry mouth, which can lead to tooth decay and other oral health problems.
On the other hand, foods high in sugar and starch can cause tooth decay and should be limited or avoided. When you eat sugary foods, the bacteria in your mouth break down the sugars and produce acids that can damage the enamel. Over time, this can lead to cavities and other oral health problems. It’s important to remember that sugar is not just found in sweets and desserts. It’s also present in many processed foods like sodas, sports drinks, and even some types of bread.
3. Protect your Teeth from Morning Sickness.
A lot of women go through morning sickness in the first trimester of their pregnancy, and in some cases, it can persist into the second trimester as well, albeit less commonly. Morning sickness results from significant hormonal changes and often causes frequent vomiting. The acid in vomit can harm teeth and lead to tooth decay if not dealt with promptly. To counteract this, rinse your mouth with warm water mixed with a teaspoon of baking soda a couple of times daily. This will neutralize the acid and protect your teeth from damage. Moreover, baking soda can also eliminate the sour taste that often accompanies vomiting.
4. Honor Dentist Appointments
There is no better way to maintain oral health than visiting the best family dentist in Palo Alto. Your dentist can detect problems early and recommend the best treatment. So never hesitate to visit a dental clinic just because you are expecting. In fact, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), it is completely safe to get dental check-ups and treatment when pregnant.
That said, it is advisable to inform your dentist about your pregnancy before any procedures are performed. If possible, it is best to schedule any elective dental procedures during the second trimester when the risk of pregnancy complications is low.
5. Avoid Smoking
Smoking can have a negative effect on your dental health, and it is especially harmful during pregnancy. Smoking can increase the risk of gum disease, tooth loss, and oral cancer.
If you smoke, it is essential to quit during pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider for guidance and support on this.
By following these five tips, you are sure to have healthy teeth and gums and prevent any potential complications during pregnancy. But the most important advice you can take during this time is this – always honor your dental appointments. Preventive care appointments are more crucial now than ever.