Oral Health Buzz
Relief for Dry Mouth During Pregnancy
What can you do about dry mouth during pregnancy? While dry mouth may not be as talked about as other common pregnancy symptoms, that dry feeling can accompany nausea and other pregnancy side effects. Blame it on those changing hormones. According to the American Dental Association, the hormone shifts that take place during pregnancy can lead to a lack of saliva, also know as xerostomia. This is not only uncomfortable, but it can also affect your oral health. Without enough of saliva to wash away debris and to control bacteria in your mouth, your teeth and gums are more susceptible to plaque buildup and cavities. Find out how to relieve the dryness and take care of your mouth while you are pregnant.
The easiest way to relieve dry mouth during pregnancy is to increase your fluid intake. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Sucking on ice chips can moisturize your mouth and as a bonus relieve pregnancy nausea. To keep your mouth moist and fresh, carry a water bottle with you as well as plenty of sugarless candies or gum. That way, you can sip water to continually moisten your mouth. Sucking on candy or chewing gum can help stimulate saliva flow.
Do you wake up with a dry, cotton feeling in your mouth? Try turning on a humidifier in your room while you sleep. You can also talk to your dentist about using a soothing mouth rinse like Colgate Dry Mouth Relief or a saliva substitute.
Dental Care for Pregnant Women & Proper Nutrition
During pregnancy, it is more important than ever to keep up good oral care habits. Dry mouth is a potential problem, but there are other pregnancy-specific oral health issues to watch out for, like pregnancy gingivitis and pregnancy granuloma (growth at gumline that occurs in 2 to 10% of pregnant women). It is so important to brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss at least once a day for optimal oral health.
Make eating a healthy diet a priority, not just for a healthy pregnancy, but also to keep your mouth in good shape. Foods like green leafy vegetables, carrots, nuts and milk will help to keep your teeth and gums in great condition, thanks to the fact that they contain calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C. Eating less sugary foods can also promote a healthier smile, because sugary and starchy foods make your mouth a friendly environment for bacteria, leading to acid attacks on your tooth enamel. Also, be sure to see your dentist at least once while you are pregnant. As the first and third trimesters are not recommended for professional cleanings, the second trimester is the best time to see your dentist and consider a professional cleaning appointment.
Pregnancy dry mouth can put you at a greater risk for problems like tooth decay and infections. Take great care of your smile with brushing and flossing, but also be sure to address the dryness.
Learn more about dry mouth in the Colgate Oral Care resources.
Source: iStockphoto/Hannes Eichinger