Congratulations you are pregnant! Now what to do? You are bombarded with the what, when, how to from your the doctors, your mother, your friends and even strangers. But one thing you should not forget is your ORAL HEALTH.
Taking care of your teeth and gums have many benefits for you and your baby. A mother’s mouth carries bacteria and can get into the blood system of mother and baby. Things to look out for are increased bleeding, swelling in gums, and caries. Gum disease has been associated with preterm delivery due to the increased levels of inflammatory factors in the blood system. With great oral hygiene and getting a regular dental cleaning you can decrease this inflammation and prevent it from passing into the baby’s blood system.
Another advantage is you can decrease the chances of giving your child the bacteria that causes cavities by “vertical transmission”. It’s been shown that the primary caregiver who has a lot of dental decay will have a child with the same carious experience. Do not share saliva with your child by avoiding sharing utensils or foods with your child.
Unfortunately there are obstacles with taking care of your teeth. One of them being is that a lot of dentists would send a pregnant woman away. The truth is you can go to the dentist any time during your pregnancy. I would especially recommend it if you are in pain or have an infection. Do not delay any necessary dental treatment. The best time is in the second trimester where the risk of miscarriages is low. Get your teeth cleaning and any dental treatment you need. It can get harder in the third trimester to sit comfortably and long periods of time to complete a treatment. Not everyone is the same but I would need to go to the ladies room every 15min.
Below is a list of how to take care of your mouth. You can get more tips by linking to this website. http://mchoralhealth.org/PDFs/OralHealthPregnancyHandout.pdf
1. Brushing teeth twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste, especially before bedtime, and flossing daily.
2. Taking prenatal vitamins
3. Chewing xylitol-containing gum or other xylitol-containing products, four to five times a day, after eating.
4. Watch your cravings. Limiting foods and drinks containing fermentable carbohydrates—sugars (including fruit sugars), cookies, crackers, chips—to mealtimes only. The sugars and acid can break down your enamel.
5. If you have been experiencing frequent nausea and vomiting you can eat small amounts of nutritious yet noncariogenic foods—snacks rich in protein, such as cheese—throughout the day. Using a teaspoon of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in a cup of water to rinse and spit after vomiting, avoiding tooth brushing directly after vomiting as the effect of erosion can be exacerbated by brushing an already demineralized tooth surface. Use a fluoride-containing mouth rinse immediately before bedtime to help remineralize teeth.
As a mother you need to take care of yourself otherwise you will not be able to take care of your child.