Protect your mouth during pregnancy
SUMMARY: Gum disease is a common ailment pregnant women experience, but there are several steps you can take to decrease the risk for you and baby.
Posted: May 1, 2013
May is Pregnancy Awareness Month, so there's no better time than now to get educated about your health and wellness - even if you're not pregnant! Did you know that it is extremely important to keep up with your oral health during pregnancy? With all of the stress and excitement going on in your life, it can be challenging to keep up with oral health, but hormonal changes can make dental issues worse.
As the most common issue that pregnant women experience, gum disease can arise as early as the second month and usually peaks around the eighth month. This ailment, which is referred to as "pregnancy gingivitis," usually begins to subside after the baby is born, but in some cases untreated gum disease can cause issues in baby. Research has found links between low birth weight and premature labor due to the excess anaerobic bacteria entering the bloodstream.
Whether you are suffering from morning sickness or your body is simply reacting to pregnant life, dry mouth is extremely common. Although not serious, dry mouth syndrome is very uncomfortable. You should make sure to drink a substantial amount of water and other sugar-free beverages or suck on ice chips. It can also help to suck on hard candies or chew gum that contains the ingredient xylitol, which combats harmful bacteria and stimulates saliva flow. You can also increase your intake of water-rich foods like apples, celery and other fruits and vegetables.
Increasing your daily intake of vitamins C and B12 can keep your mouth healthy and strong during pregnancy. Your No. 1 goal is to prevent the buildup of dental plaque in the mouth, which irritates the gums and causes them to become red, swollen and bleed. Eating an abundance of fruits and vegetables can also help reduce the plaque that causes gum disease. A well-balanced diet can reduce the risk of getting a pregnancy tumor, which is a non-cancerous growth on the gums that will typically subside after giving birth.
Although you may be craving sugary treats during pregnancy, these items can cause further problems in the mouth. Sugar feeds the bacteria in the mouth, causing bad breath and possibly aggravating gum disease. Tooth decay is also common during pregnancy because of this as well as morning sickness because of the acid that comes into your mouth.
Instead of store-bought fruit juice, consider purchasing a beverage infuser that allows you to create your own fresh, healthy juice at home. This is ideal for women who are craving something sweet, but these juices won't contain the high amount of added sugar. If you would like it to be a bit sweeter, add something natural like honey or stevia. Try to avoid soda at all costs, as this will only increase your chance of gum disease.
Prevent common periodontal issues with Therabreath's PerioTherapy System Kit to ensure you and your baby stay healthy. The PerioTherapy Oral Rinse and PerioTherapy Treatment Toothpaste act together to combat periodontal disease, excessive bleeding of the gums and bad breath. While using the product, a general rule of thumb is to keep the toothpaste in contact with the gums for as long as possible and avoid rinsing with water.
During pregnancy, it is extra important to brush your teeth, especially along the gum line as least twice a day. It's best to use a soft toothbrush as well as floss at least once a day. This is extra important for women who are suffering from gum disease because it will get rid of the plaque around the gum line that causes bleeding.