Powerhouse Foods to Protect Your Teeth During Pregnancy

Pregnant woman sitting down on a couch  holding an acai bowl in one hand and researching on her laptop with the other hand.

Many women don't know that dental health during pregnancy is something you need to keep on your radar, whether you're actively trying to become pregnant or are already expecting. Of course, one of the best ways to keep your teeth in tip top shape during pregnancy is to have a solid oral hygiene routine established ahead of time. You know the basics — brushing, flossing, visiting the dentist, etc. When you're expecting, there are just a couple extra things to be aware of to ensure optimal oral health. The most important thing? Food, of course! Read more to learn about how common foods can help tackle the most common dental problems pregnant women face.

Tooth Decay

Extra snacking during pregnancy puts you at an increased risk for tooth decay, especially if those snacks are full of sugar or carbs. Choose healthy snacks to take extra care of your pearly whites, fend off pesky plaque and give your body the extra nutrients it's craving!

1) Yogurt is a great snack because it's low in sugar and full of calcium, protein and probiotics, all essentials for expectant mothers.

2) Apples with cheese is a filling snack that satisfies your sweet tooth with the fruit's natural sugar and provides fiber, calcium and protein.

3) Almonds can be a life saver during pregnancy because you can stash them everywhere — in your purse or backpack, desk, glovebox, anywhere a snack emergency might strike — and they're really healthy for you and your baby. Not only are they full of vitamin E, magnesium and tons of other good stuff, they're super filling, too (and a few dark chocolate covered almonds never hurt anyone, just saying).

Gum Disease

Pregnancy hormones can make some women more prone to gum problems like gingivitis. As everything else in your body is swelling, you definitely don't want to deal with swollen gums, too! Luckily there are certain nutrient-dense foods that help boost your body's immune system and reduce inflammation.

1) Make sure you're eating plenty of fruits like kiwis, strawberries and oranges that are rich in vitamin C, the powerhouse vitamin that can help boost immunity, strengthen blood vessels, and support production of collagen (your gums need that!).

2) Up your intake of vegetables such as sweet potatoes, kale and broccoli for more beta carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A.

3) Eating foods high in omega-3s, like nuts and seeds, brussels sprouts and tofu may help your body better regulate inflammation.

Enamel Erosion

Morning sickness is bad enough as it is, and now you have to worry about the damage it might be causing your teeth? Unfortunately, yes, but there are steps you can take to protect your smile. The key is remembering to minimize the amount of acid in your mouth and on your teeth.

1) Bananas are a low-acidity, energy-dense snack that is easy on the stomach and can help replenish potassium lost due to vomiting.

2) Chewing sugarless gum can help increase saliva and neutralize acid in the mouth and throat.

3) Milk and other dairy products are rich in calcium and can help neutralize acids to protect from enamel erosion.

Worrying about your dental hygiene during pregnancy shouldn't be at the top of your list — you've got a lot going on, after all! As long as you're eating well, being mindful of these tips and talking regularly with your dentist, your smile will be in perfect shape when your baby arrives!

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Common Conditions During PREGNANCY

To help minimize any risks during pregnancy, here is some general advice and some common conditions to be on the lookout for:

  1. Gum disease – during pregnancy, teeth and gums need special attention. Regular tooth brushing twice daily, flossing once daily, eating a balanced diet and visiting the dentist regularly will help reduce dental problems that accompany pregnancy.

  2. Enamel erosion – for some women, morning sickness is a major symptom of pregnancy. Along with the nausea comes additional acid that, if left in your mouth, can erode your teeth. Be sure to rinse your mouth out with water or with a fluoride mouthwash to keep the acid level under control.

  3. Dry mouth – 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 production of saliva.