Recent evidence is showing that a pregnant woman with gum disease is more likely to have a baby that is born too small and too early. It appears that gum disease triggers increased levels of biological fluids that can induce labor. No matter what symptoms you have during pregnancy, it is important to always take care of your teeth. Good habits include brushing twice a day, regular flossing and visits to your dentist.
Here are a few tips to help during the prenatal stage:
Brush your teeth every morning and night
Brush at least twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to prevent gum irritation and recession. This will help brush away food debris and plaque.
Floss daily to clean between the teeth, where a toothbrush can't reach, and below the gum line. Brushing alone only cleans about 35% of your tooth surface. Floss daily to clean the rest of your tooth.
Visit your dentist
Get your teeth deep cleaning and checked every six months. Be sure to get any needed dental work done that your dentist may recommend. The germs that cause cavities can be passed on to your baby after it is born.
Cut down on sweet or starchy foods
Sweet or starchy snacks can cause “acid attacks” on your teeth resulting in tooth sensitivity and even dental caries. Focus on substituting sugary snacks and drinks for water and fruit.
Eat foods high in calcium
Calcium is very important for your baby's teeth and bones. Calcium can be found in milk, cheese, dried beans, and leafy green vegetables.
Manage dry mouth
Be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated during pregnancy. Sucking on ice chips can moisturize your mouth, and as a bonus, can relieve pregnancy nausea. Keep in mind we are talking about ice chips, not cubes! Chewing on ice can result in cracked tooth syndrome and other dental conditions.
Taking care of your oral health is just as important as your physical health during pregnancy. Brush twice a day, floss, cut down on sweets, and visit your dentist every six months for a check-up and cleaning. Your baby will thank you!