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5 Tips For Dental Care During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it also involves keeping track of a lot of details and practicing good self care. When taking care of your health, diet, and overall wellness during pregnancy, don't overlook the importance of dental care. Your oral health is closely linked to your overall health and can affect your baby as well. Here are five tips for dental care during pregnancy:

Start with a Check-Up and a Plan

Your dentist will know best how to schedule any dental work you need around your pregnancy. If you need fillings or extensive dental work, your dentist will most likely want you to schedule these procedures for early in your pregnancy or after you have the baby. The best approach is to schedule a check-up and cleaning as soon as possible and then let your dentist guide you in scheduling any further appointments that you need. Starting your pregnancy with a professional dental cleaning will set the stage for great oral health during your pregnancy.

Be Aware of Pregnancy Gingivitis

Bacteria in your mouth will sometimes react in a strange way with your pregnancy hormones, leading to increased swelling, bleeding, and discomfort in your gums. This condition is known as pregnancy gingivitis and affects an estimated 50% of pregnant women. Since any infection in your body can affect your baby, it's important to nip pregnancy gingivitis in the bud or prevent it from happening in the first place.

The best way to do this is to brush your teeth after every meal and floss once a day to remove bacteria before it has a chance to turn into plaque and cause gingivitis to develop. An antibacterial mouthwash is also a good idea.

Be Careful with Morning Sickness and Brushing

Morning sickness is always a bummer, but a little known side effect is that the extra acidity in your mouth from vomiting can eat away at your tooth enamel. While your instinct will probably be to immediately brush your teeth after an episode of morning sickness, the combination of acidity and toothpaste can actually further harm your teeth. Instead, try rinsing out your mouth with a combination of baking soda and water, which will neutralize the acid in your mouth. Next, you can simply brush your teeth with toothpaste like normal.

Up Your Calcium Intake

Calcium is not only an important nutrient for your growing baby, but also it's crucial to dental health and strong teeth as well. Experts recommend that pregnant women get around 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. Cheese, yogurt and other dairy products are very high in calcium. Other sources of calcium include dark leafy greens and almonds.

For a healthy snack that is rich in calcium and other nutrients, try having a daily green smoothie that is full of veggies and fruit as well as yogurt and milk. If you're concerned you're not getting enough calcium in your diet you can also take a high quality calcium supplement.

Look Into Xylitol Gum

If you like to chew gum, gum containing xylitol is a good option for expectant mothers. Xylitol gum has been shown to significantly reduce oral bacteria in pregnant women, which can help counteract the hormonal effects of pregnancy on your overall health. Chewing xylitol gum may also make it easier to stop yourself from snacking on candy and other treats that are bad for your dental health.

Some women do experience nausea when they chew xylitol gum, however, so it's best to start with one piece and see how you feel, especially if you are already experiencing morning sickness.

By following these tips, you will ensure that your dental health stays in great shape during your entire pregnancy.