Expecting a child is a joyous and exciting time. It’s also a time for expectant mothers to take special care of themselves.
While pregnancy brings about many physical changes, it may come as a surprise to learn that pregnancy hormones can affect your oral health. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), nearly 60 to 75% of pregnant women have gingivitis, an early stage of periodontal disease that occurs when the gums become red and swollen from inflammation that may be aggravated by changing hormones. If gingivitis is not treated, it can lead to more serious forms of periodontitis, resulting in lost bone structure and painful, infected gums. Teeth with little bone support can become loose and may eventually fall out or need to be extracted. Periodontitis has also been associated with premature birth and low birth weight.
Prevention of tooth decay is essential, too. Strange eating habits and frequent snacking can make pregnant women more susceptible to cavities. Cavity-causing bacteria can be transmitted to newborns through the mouth and lead to other health problems.
Following this simple routine will help you and your baby stay happy and healthy:
- Watch what you eat. Indulge in your cravings, but balance with healthy foods like fruits and vegetables
- Brush more than twice a day and floss regularly
- Use a good fluoride toothpaste to help prevent cavities
- Use a good mouthwash for extra protection against plaque buildup
- Switch to a soft-bristle toothbrush and carry a spare when you’re away from home
A good oral hygiene routine is essential for maintaining overall health during pregnancy and helps lead to positive outcomes for mother and child. It’s not only an important part of prenatal care, it sets the stage for healthy teeth development in infants and children.