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Having a Baby? Don't Neglect Oral Health

By Jill Feilmeier on May 15, 2014 in Dental Health

Dentist looking at child patient

If you're pregnant – or planning to become pregnant – chances are you know some of the basics about being healthy for you and your baby. Eat a balanced diet. Don't smoke. But did you know that your dental health becomes increasingly important leading up to and during pregnancy?

Having a healthy mouth is always important. But pregnancy can actually intensify dental disease. Minor dental problems you had before you became pregnant could worsen.

Many moms-to-be experience food cravings. Additional snacking on sugary foods can lead to increased tooth decay. Try to limit foods containing sugar to mealtimes only. If you do give in to one of those ice cream or Oreo cravings, drink a glass of water while you're eating and brush your teeth once you're done.

Nausea and vomiting will affect 80% of all pregnant women. Stomach acid from vomiting can erode your teeth. If you're one of the unlucky ones who suffer from “morning sickness,” make sure to rinse your mouth out with water and baking soda solution afterward. The combination will neutralize the acid. Chewing Xylitol gum will help neutralize acid, reduce risk for cavities, and freshen your breath.

Hormonal changes during pregnancy can exaggerate the way your gum tissue reacts to plaque, increasing your risk for gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. To prevent “pregnancy gingivitis,” take extra care and time brushing and flossing.

If you're thinking about becoming pregnant or already are – ramp up your dental health habits. Brush your teeth twice and floss once a day. And make sure to schedule a dentist appointment within the first trimester.