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Proper Dental Care While Pregnant

Wendy J. Woudstra

If you've just found out you are expecting, consulting your dentist is probably the last thing on your mind. There is good reason, however, to be concerned about your dental care while pregnant. Your teeth and gums can be affected by your pregnancy, and your oral health can have an effect on the health of your developing child.

Pregnancy and Gum Disease

The hormonal changes caused by pregnancy can change the way your gums react to dental plaque, causing them to become irritated, inflamed, and sore. Research has also shown that pregnancy can increase the amount of bacteria present in your mouth, so maintaining a regimen of brushing and flossing while pregnant is exceptionally important.

Morning Sickness and Oral Care

If you suffer from morning sickness, brushing your teeth can seem like a nearly impossible task, since the mere smell of the toothpaste can cause a reaction. If possible, try different, milder flavors of toothpaste to see if it is possible to find one that you can tolerate. At the very least, brush using water and baking soda rather than avoiding the toothbrush altogether.

An even more serious threat to your teeth is the acid that enters your mouth from each episode of morning sickness. If left unchecked, it can erode the enamel of your teeth and lead to tooth decay. Rinsing your mouth out with water can remove and neutralize much of the acid, while brushing your teeth afterward should help remove the rest.

Dental Care while Pregnant

During the first and third trimesters of your pregnancy, you should avoid having dental work done, as a precautionary measure. Dental work done during the second trimester of pregnancy has been shown to be safe for both mother and child. Dental X-rays, on the other hand, should be avoided throughout your entire pregnancy.

There is evidence that women with periodontal disease while pregnant are more at risk of having low birth weight or premature babies, so it is important to take care of your teeth and gums during your pregnancy.

You can learn more about prenatal care and oral health in the Colgate Oral Care resources.

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