Taking care of yourself should be first on the top of your do list if you are planning on starting a family or are already pregnant.
After all, if you are not healthy chances are your baby is not as healthy as they can be.
A healthy mouth is not always something we think about, let alone put at the top of our list when we are planning for a baby.
Did you know…
Your baby’s teeth begin to develop between the third and sixth months of pregnancy. Before you even give birth. To help the teeth develop they need enough vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, Vitamins A, C, D, and calcium to name a few.
Having a baby is an exciting time in your life! Ready or not there is so much to consider when starting a family, you want to do everything possible to give your little bundle of joy a happy healthy life.
Your body will be going through a lot of changes and that includes your mouth. When you are pregnant an increase in hormones can exaggerate the way your gums react to plaque buildup.
You may notice that your gums are puffy, sore, or bleed easily. If you have puffy gums before you are pregnant it will get much worse when you are pregnant and can have negative effects on your baby. Like low birth weight or preterm delivery.
Pregnancy gingivitis can happen as early as the first month of pregnancy. It is the plaque and lack of brushing the gums properly, not the hormones that lead to gingivitis. Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums, an early stage of gum disease caused by the buildup of plaque, (a sticky colorless, biofilm containing bacteria) that is left undisturbed.
If you have gum disease, it could affect your baby’s birth weight. Your baby can be smaller or be delivered sooner than anticipated.
To prevent pregnancy gingivitis, brush twice a day and floss once a day. I could not use toothpaste during my pregnancy without getting sick. So, I skipped the toothpaste and used a mouth rinse after brushing to freshen my breath.
Eating well can help your baby grow and thrive. Get plenty of nutrients – including vitamins A, C, and D, protein, calcium, and phosphorus. This will reduce the risk of Neural tube defects of the brain, spine, or spinal cord. They happen in the first month of pregnancy you need folic acid each day while pregnant. Talk to your Dr. Take folic acid supplements or eat foods high in folate.
While you’re at it, drink plenty of water to keep hydrated and your own teeth strong.
During a time when anything (and possibly everything) may make you gag, take it slow when brushing and figure out what works for you. Changing your flavor of toothpaste, or using a smaller head, or brushing at different times of the day may help with gagging and morning sickness. You may want to spit more often while brushing your teeth, try that as well. The important thing is to keep up your routine because you’re slightly more at risk for cavities and gingivitis, thanks to acid on your teeth from morning sickness, possible diet changes, and feeling too tired to brush.
Unfortunately, morning sickness can hit any time of the day. Vomit contains stomach acids that can weaken the enamel on your teeth, so waiting to brush after you’ve rinsed your mouth to balance the pH can help prevent those acids from doing more damage. Instead of brushing, first swish and spit. You can use water, or a diluted mouth rinse, or a mixture of 1 cup of water and 1 tsp. of baking soda. Baking soda is a great way to neutralize the acid in your mouth. You can also use plain water, swish, spit it out, and brush your teeth about 30 minutes later.
If you’re already brushing twice a day and cleaning between your teeth once a day, with floss, a water flosser for interdental brushes. keep up the good work! If not, there’s no better time to start, poor oral hygiene habits during pregnancy have been associated with not only premature delivery but also gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. Talk to your dentist about your routine and if you should make any changes. I also have blogs, podcasts, and how-to YouTube videos.
I had 8 miscarriages before having my daughter taking care of myself was crucial. My body was being pumped with so many drugs my hormones were all over the place. My gums were bleeding and I was having a hard time brushing without gagging.
I could Not brush with toothpaste without throwing up, so I did not use toothpaste in the morning. I could only use it at night. Everyone is different so do what works for you. It changes month to month too.
If your last dental visit was more than six months ago, and you are not sure if your gums were healthy before you found out you were pregnant, schedule a visit soon. Tell the office you are pregnant and your due date. If you have cavities or gingivitis, they can provide the best options for care for you and your baby based on what they are seeing.
If you are not sure who to see ask family or friends for recommendations or schedule a free evaluation with me. Click the link on this site.
The ideal scenario would be seeing your Dentist make sure your mouth is healthy before you get pregnant. Knowing the health of your mouth can give you peace of mind that your mouth and gums will not be a factor in pre-term delivery.
Visiting the dentists is safe during your pregnancy. Making sure your mouth is healthy before will save you from having to have any emergency procedures during your pregnancy. Oral health care including x-rays, pain medication, and local anesthetic can be safe throughout pregnancy. But, Everyone is different and family history plays a role, always check with your Dr. before any dental procedures.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists agrees that procedures like fillings and crowns are safe and important to have during pregnancy to prevent potential infections. It may be more uncomfortable to sit in a dental chair the later you are in pregnancy, so schedule dental work in your second trimester, if possible. Cosmetic procedures, like whitening, should wait until after the baby arrives. If you need an emergency procedure, work with your dentist and ob-gyn on the best plan for the health of you and your baby.
If your gums are bleeding you may need to go more often than every 6 months for cleaning during your pregnancy to disrupt the bacteria and keep gingivitis and gum disease at bay.
What and how you eat is just as important. The food you consume and how to eat for two without overeating is part of the pregnancy journey. Choose nutritious foods for you and your baby. A variety of fruit, veggies, and dairy. Stay away from foods high in sugar. It is hard but it will be worth it for both you and your baby. I could not eat certain food because I was also sensitive to smell. Cornbeef and cabbage were the worst for me. I could not be in the building where it was being cooked without getting sick.
I ate a lot of apples when I was pregnant to help with nausea. I had to wake up and get out of bed slowly. My blood pressure was low and if I jumped up too fast I would pass out. One morning I was home alone, passed out on the toilet, hit the door when I went down, and woke up to the dog licking my face and a black eye. I was on bed rest after that. So be mindful of what your body is telling you and listen. I was big on just pushing through and ignoring signs. Learn from my mistakes.
The health of your mouth is just as important after you deliver your baby.
Maintaining a routine for yourself will also ensure you create a good routine for your infant and toddler. Our children mimic what we do so we need to set a good example.
Tell- show -do had worked well for me and my daughter, as well as the kids I see in my day-to-day practice.
Brushing twice a day, morning and night, will set both you and your baby up for success and reduce your chances of dental disease and other diseases.
Always do what you are comfortable with and trust your gut instincts when It comes to your health and the health of your baby.
A Healthy Mouth- Healthy Mom- Healthy Baby.