Although pregnancy can bring a lot of joy to your life, it can also affect your teeth and gums. The increased hormones may actually make it more difficult for your body to fight plaque. If you develop gum disease while pregnant, you are more likely to deliver a premature baby, according to ABC News. Prostaglandin, a chemical found in oral bacteria, may alert the body to deliver the baby now. However, if you practice good oral hygiene, you can lower your risk of dental health issues and early delivery during pregnancy. With that in mind, here are some dental care tips for expecting mothers:
Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after vomiting
Morning sickness is a common side effect of pregnancy and can make you want to brush your teeth right away. Brushing your pearly whites too soon, however, can cause the stomach acids to eat away at your tooth enamel. Try to wait at least an hour before brushing your teeth. If the inside of your mouth feels icky, rinse it out with a non-acidic, alcohol free mouthwash or, at least, water.
Be diligent about flossing
Since pregnancy increases your risk of gum disease, you should never skimp on flossing. Before you brush your teeth in the morning, carefully floss between each tooth. Flossing will remove food particles and plaque that your toothbrush can't reach. If you haven't flossed in a while, do not be alarmed if your gums bleed a little. Once you remove the built-up plaque, your gums should stop bleeding.
Increase your calcium intake
Calcium doesn't just lower your risk of osteoporosis; it also promotes strong teeth during pregnancy. Baby Center recommends pregnant women over 18 consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. Great sources of calcium include milk, yogurt, cheese, spinach and almonds. If you are not getting enough calcium from your diet, talk to your doctor about taking supplements.
Don't put off dental checkups
When you are pregnant, it is even more important to visit your dentist regularly. A dentist will give you a thorough exam and look for signs of tooth decay, gum disease and other oral health issues. When a dental problem is found early, it is much easier to treat. If you have noticed any changes to your oral health recently, such as inflamed gums or sensitive teeth, inform your dentist.
If you follow these helpful tips, you can maintain strong teeth and gums during your pregnancy.