Pregnancy is an exciting time. There’s so much to plan and look forward to — the nursery, the baby shower, parenthood itself — but it’s also a time of change. Over the course of nine months, your entire body adapts and responds to the life inside of you, and it prepares to welcome your little one into the world. And of course, your smile is no exception!
Your gums will become more sensitive to bacteria, and your teeth will become more vulnerable to decay. So, when you’re expecting, it’s important to have a team of compassionate dental professionals there to support you!
At 1st In Smiles, you’ll find just that. Our team can help you keep your smile healthy over the course of your pregnancy and beyond! We offer comprehensive dental checkups and professional cleanings that reduce your risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Plus, we strive to provide high-quality care in a stress-free setting.
Read on for what you can expect oral health-wise when you’re expecting. Then, partner with the team at 1st In Smiles in Plano, TX. Call us at 972-380-8105 to schedule an appointment.
Hormonal changes can make you more vulnerable to gum disease, which is why about 40 percent of women experience “pregnancy gingivitis” between their second and eighth months of pregnancy.
Gingivitis is a mild infection of the gums, marked by inflammation of the gum tissue. When food particles linger along and below the gumline, it attracts infection-causing bacteria. This causes plaque, a sticky film of bacterial buildup, to form, which irritates the gum tissue.
Some of the signs of gingivitis include:
- Gums that bleed when you floss or brush
- Gums that are red in color
- Gums that are tender or swollen
Unfortunately, pregnancy gingivitis can also worsen pre-existing gum disease, which is why it’s important to continue seeing your dentist for checkups and cleanings. At 1st In Smiles, we offer non-surgical gum disease treatments such as scaling and root planing, a deep cleaning procedure that removes bacterial buildup from the gumline.
Regular flossing also helps keep pregnancy gingivitis at bay. The American Dental Association recommends flossing once a day to remove food particles that might otherwise lead to bacterial buildup.
Properly preventing and treating gum disease while you’re pregnant may also prevent complications during your birth. Some studies suggest that unmanaged gum disease has been linked to premature births and low birth weights, according to the American Academy of Periodontology.
Morning Sickness and Tooth Decay
The good news? Morning sickness usually subsides after the first trimester of pregnancy. The bad news? It’s something nearly all women experience during pregnancy, and it increases your risk of tooth decay.
That’s because spells of morning sickness expose your teeth to the acids in your stomach. And though tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body, acidic substances are its kryptonite. Acids substances weaken the enamel, making it more likely that you’ll get cavities.
It might be tempting to brush your teeth right after a bout of nausea, but brushing immediately afterward can actually make the problem worse by spreading the acids around. Instead, try rinsing your mouth with a solution of baking soda and water. Then, wait half an hour before you brush as usual.
It’s also a good idea to use a fluoridated toothpaste if you’re not doing so already. Fluoride helps strengthen your enamel, so it’s generally a good idea and especially so if you’re experiencing morning sickness.
Increased Sensitivity to Smells and Tastes
Starting in the first trimester, you might find that certain smells and tastes that you never gave a second thought to now make you nauseous. It often happens with foods, but it can also happen with toiletries — like toothpaste, for instance. It’s not uncommon for pregnant women to find that brushing their teeth all of a sudden makes them gag.
But before you swear off dental hygiene, try switching up your toothpaste. While mint-flavored toothpaste might offend you, you might find that cinnamon or even bubble gum flavors work just fine. You can also try using a toothbrush with a smaller head that’s less likely to trigger your gag reflex.
Comfortable Care For Moms-To-Be
It’s always important to prioritize your oral health since your mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body. But it’s especially important to do so when you’re expecting!