Women already know that big stomachs and swollen ankles are a consequence of pregnancy. However, what many women don’t know is that pregnancy can make them more susceptible to gum disease and other oral health problems. In addition to getting regular checkups at a Dental Oahu office, here are a few tips for taking care of teeth during pregnancy.
Maintain Good Oral Hygiene
It’s common to feel fatigue while pregnant, so it may be tempting to forgo brushing and flossing in favor of getting a few extra minutes of sleep. However, hormonal changes in the body increases gum sensitivity and makes women more prone to periodontal disease, which can affect the baby’s development if it gets severe enough.
In addition to flossing at least once a day and brushing twice a day, use a medicated mouthwash to keep oral bacteria under control and curtail the risk of oral infections.
Don’t Brush After Vomiting
It may seem counterproductive and a little gross, but it’s important to avoid brushing teeth right after vomiting. The stomach acid that comes into contact with teeth can cause the enamel to soften, and brushing teeth during this time could result in the erosion of this protective coating.
Instead of brushing, rinse the mouth with water or a medicated mouthwash. Wait at least 30 minutes to one hour for the enamel to reharden before brushing.
Avoid Sugary Treats
It’s normal to crave sugary treats during pregnancy, but it’s important to good oral health to minimize the amount eaten or avoid them altogether. Sugar is the preferred food source for bacteria, and indulging in it on a regular basis can encourage the growth of these organisms and lead to cavities and oral infections.
If a person were to indulge in a sweet treat, then it’s important to take steps to reduce the effect it has on the teeth. Either brush or rinse the mouth with water after eating to minimize the amount of time the sugar has contact with the teeth.
For more tips on maintaining good oral health during pregnancy, contact Dr. Garrett T. Hayashi DDS at his Dental Oahu office.
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