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During pregnancy, your brain is already shooting in a million different directions. Do you have everything you need for the nursery? Is your home safe and baby-proof? How will your new bundle of joy fit into your work schedule? Are you and your partner emotionally prepared for the trials of parenthood?
With all of these concerns, it is understandable how some routine day-to-day activities can slip through the cracks. The one thing that you do not want to let slip, however, is your oral health.
How Does My Dental Health Affect My Baby?
Most expectant mothers are not aware that their oral health can affect the health and safety of their unborn babies.
Studies have shown that women who have gum disease are more likely to go into premature labor, which puts the child at higher risk due to their smaller, less-developed size. Additional studies show that children of women with untreated cavities or gingivitis are also more likely to have cavities at a younger age.
What Is Pregnancy Gingivitis?
Pregnancy gingivitis is a common affliction experienced by expectant mothers because of hormonal changes that increase blood flow in the mouth. Gingivitis is characterized by the swelling of the gums, which may be more vulnerable to bleeding and irritation.
This, too, can impact a child’s development.
What Can I Do to Protect My Smile and My Child?
While poor oral health can be detrimental, proper practices are as simple as performing good dental hygiene.
What Should I Do?
- Brush your teeth: Sometimes, the oldest adages still hold the most weight. Brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time (30 seconds per quadrant of the mouth) can significantly help maintain your oral health by eliminating the day-to-day bacteria and plaque build-up.
- Floss your teeth: Daily flossing allows you to clean between the deepest nooks and crannies of your mouth to ensure that no bacteria is left lurking around. Pregnant women—and non-pregnant individuals as well—should floss at least once a day.
- Eat a nutritious diet: Eating a nutritious diet that is low in excess sugars helps to ensure that no excess bacteria are present in your mouth. So while it may be a challenge to resist those late-night ice cream cravings, try to limit them for your health and the health of your baby.
- Chew xylitol gum: Xylitol chewing gum is a sugar-free gum that helps to prevent tooth decay and dry mouth.
- Eat xylitol chips: If chewing gum isn’t your style, you can always try out xylitol chips, a sugar-free candy that is shown to reduce tooth decay and cavity-causing bacteria while strengthening teeth.
- Stay hydrated: Staying hydrated is essential for your health, your skin, and your teeth. Unfortunately, pregnancy often leads to dry mouth, which can result in tooth decay and infections. Drinking water will help rinse bacteria out of your mouth so that the bacteria do not fester into something worse.
- Visit Dr. Tomazin: You wouldn’t miss a prenatal check-up with your doctor. So why should you skip out on a prenatal dental visit? Visiting Dr. Tomazin for a cleaning and check-up is one of the best ways to ensure that both your baby and you remain healthy.
Interested in Learning More?
If you are interested in learning more about the importance of your oral health during pregnancy or in setting up an appointment with Dr. Tomazin, contact our offices by calling (951) 686-3666 or by filling out our online contact form.