PREGNANCY ORAL CARE
Pregnancy Oral Care
Most women notice changes in their gums during pregnancy; common signs are gums that look redder and bleed during tooth brushing. Some women also experience severe swelling and bleeding gums. All of these changes are referred to as “pregnancy gingivitis,” and they can start as early as the second month of pregnancy. The condition tends to peak around the eighth month, and it often tapers off after the baby is born.
The condition occurs more frequently during pregnancy because the increased level of hormones, estrogen, and progesterone, exaggerates the way gums react to the irritants in plaque. However, it’s still plaque — not hormones — that is the major cause of gingivitis. It’s most common in the front of the mouth.
During pregnancy, the level of progesterone in your body can be 10 times higher than normal. This may enhance the growth of certain bacteria that cause gingivitis. Your immune system may also work differently during pregnancy. This could change the way your body reacts to the bacteria that cause gingivitis.
To minimize the effects of pregnancy gingivitis, practice good oral hygiene: Brush twice a day, for at least two minutes each time. Floss every day. Using an antimicrobial mouth rinse also may help you control your gum inflammation and dental plaque.
Pregnancy dry mouth can put women at a greater risk for problems such as tooth decay and infections. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and chew sugarless gum to enhance the production of saliva.
No matter what symptoms you have during pregnancy, you should always take care of your teeth with good habits that include regular flossing and brushing to ensure you maintain healthy teeth and gums throughout your pregnancy.
Here are a few tips to help during the prenatal stage:
Brush at least twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste. Use a soft bristled toothbrush and be sure to put the bristles of the toothbrush where the teeth and gums meet to brush away dental plaque and food debris. This is where gum disease begins and plaque develops.
Floss daily to clean between the teeth, where a toothbrush can’t reach, and below the gum line.
You need calcium for your baby’s teeth and bones. Calcium can be found in milk, cheese, dried beans, and leafy green vegetables.
Be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated during pregnancy.