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How Your Oral Health Affects Your Baby During Pregnancy

Pregnancy Dental Health

During those precious nine months, while your child grows within your womb, you’ll be making plenty of sacrifices. Most of these sacrifices will come in the form of carrying extra weight, needing to make frequent trips to the bathroom, and having strange cravings. However, taking care of yourself throughout the infant’s development is essential. Taking care of your dental health may fall to the wayside of all the things you’re worried about during pregnancy. Unfortunately, doing so may put your and your child’s future dental health at risk.

Your Dental Health While Pregnant

It’s understandable that little pieces of self-care, such as those associated with oral health, may fall by the wayside during this busy time. It can be easy to let your weariness make you skip flossing and brushing “just for the night.” However, breaking this habit can make your dental hygiene practices infrequent. As a result, your oral health may suffer.  

While this is troubling enough when you aren’t pregnant, pregnancy can make the impact more severe. Throughout your pregnancy, you will go through numerous hormonal changes. These changes can produce symptoms very similar to those associated with gum disease. This produces a type of gum disease known as gestational gingivitis.

When these symptoms appear, the complications of gingivitis can come with them. This includes tender and red gums that are subject to bleeding when brushed. They can also open the gateway to periodontitis, the advanced form of gum disease. 

Other concerns mothers may face during pregnancy include:

  • Weakened enamel caused by stomach acid expelled during morning sickness
  • Unhealthy dietary habits promoted by pregnancy cravings, including excess snacking
  • Gingivitis-like symptoms resulting from fluctuating hormones
  • Demineralization of the enamel caused by additional nutritional strain from the baby

There are many ways to address these concerns and limit your pregnancy’s impact on oral health. It starts with maintaining a consistent dental hygiene routine. Brushing in the morning and night, flossing frequently, and rinsing with mouthwash is essential. You may also take an additional step and brush or rinse after every incident of morning sickness.

Your dentist may also direct you to take a supplement known as a prenatal vitamin. These vitamins contain the necessary folic acid, iron, and other minerals you’ll need during your pregnancy. It’s important to avoid vitamins that are gummy or chewy. These vitamins can stick to your teeth and promote tooth decay rather than prevent it.

Oral Health Concerns For Your Growing Baby

Research has shown that your oral health and growing child are connected unexpectedly. The link seems to be the bacteria responsible for tooth decay, streptococcus mutans. When oral health concerns become significantly advanced, these bacteria can find their way into the bloodstream. Once there, they can promote the creation of a chemical known as prostaglandins. These chemicals have been linked to triggering premature labor. Reach out to your oral health provider for more information about dental health while pregnant.

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