You found out you’re pregnant! Through all of the excitement, you may have managed to remember to schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor or OBGYN. But what about your dentist?
Though it may not be the first thing on your mind, checking in with your dentist should be included as part of your healthy pregnancy process. Your body will be going through many hormonal changes, all of which can affect your teeth. Most notably, your progesterone levels will rise, increasing your risk for gingivitis, loose teeth and decay.
The good news is, this is completely preventable if you stay on top of your dental health.
Symptoms of Pregnancy-Induced Gingivitis
Pain and bleeding while brushing are some of the telltale signs that gingivitis could be developing. If any of these symptoms occur, consult with your dentist:
- Receding gums
- Swollen gums
- Red gums
- Tender or puffy gums
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
These symptoms can be especially prevalent in the third trimester when the risk of gingivitis peaks. Scheduling an extra dental appointment for a cleaning and exam is a good idea during this time so you know you’re in the clear.
You may need to get a dental x-ray during your exam, but you can rest assured that, contrary to popular belief, dental x-rays are perfectly safe for pregnant women and their babies.
Keeping Your Smile Healthy While Pregnant
Prioritize Your Dental Hygiene. Don’t neglect brushing or flossing when pregnancy has left you fatigued. You should still be brushing twice and flossing once a day to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy. Also, consider switching to a soft bristle brush if your gums are feeling sensitive.
Choose Healthy Foods. Sticking to a balanced and healthy diet while pregnant is important for you, your teeth and your baby’s health. Even when those junk food cravings surface, don’t always give in to them. For the majority of the time, eating these foods will keep you on track:
- Whole grains
- Dairy products (if you’re not lactose intolerant)
Use Sea Salt for Sore Gums. Gargling with sea salt can help sooth any gum irritation or inflammation. Just add 1 teaspoon of sea salt to 1 cup of warm water and allow it to dissolve. Whenever you need relief, gargle for 30 seconds and then spit it out.
Schedule an Appointment with Your Dentist. In addition to keeping up with your 6-month visits, consider scheduling another checkup during your third trimester to give you peace of mind.
Not ready to tell your family and friends yet? Don’t worry! Your dental office will keep your pregnancy confidential for as long as you need.