Pregnant women quickly discover that a plethora of health and wellness considerations must be weighed during this exciting time of life. According to the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, your dental health is the responsibility of you, your prenatal doctor, and your dentist. Follow these tips to maintain optimal oral health during your pregnancy.
Don’t Skip Dental Check-Ups During Your Pregnancy
You can still see your dentist while you’re pregnant. Don’t postpone regular cleanings or check-ups. However, tell your dentist about your pregnancy and disclose your due date. Also inform your dentist about any vitamins or medications you may be taking to support your health during the pregnancy. That empowers your dentist to provide the best customized care.
Get Dental Work Done Before Your Third Trimester
All major elective dental treatments should be postponed until after pregnancy. However, preventative care and necessary treatments should continue as long as it’s safe in your situation. The American Pregnancy Association reports that women should get dental work done before the third trimester. Lying on your back may become more challenging during the third trimester.
Limit Sugary Snacks but Eat Plenty at Mealtime
Although pregnancy is represented in films and television shows as a time to pig out without the guilt, choosing healthy meals and snacks throughout your pregnancy is important. Keep your sugar intake to a minimum and don’t snack frequently throughout the day. Frequent snacking can increase incidences of tooth decay, so limit food intake to mealtimes.
On the other hand, don’t get overly fixated on what you eat during the pregnancy, restricting your calorie intake while pregnant isn’t good for you or your baby. Vitamins and minerals like iron and folic acid are necessary for a healthy pregnancy, and they can be lacking in a restrictive diet.
Foods that will support your dental health and overall wellness during your pregnancy include:
- Lean, plant-based proteins such as beans, legumes, nuts and seeds
- Fruits and vegetables such as carrots, celery, watermelon and cucumbers
- Calcium-rich foods such as tofu, almonds and coconut milk yogurt
- Whole grains in foods like oatmeal and whole wheat bread
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests consuming between 2,200 and 2,900 calories per day during your pregnancy. This group also suggests adding 340 calories per day to your regular diet in the second trimester and 450 calories to your regular diet during the third trimester.
Maintain Excellent Dental Care Habits
Practicing good oral hygiene habits is crucial during pregnancy. Brush your teeth three times per day with toothpaste that has fluoride in it. Brush for three minutes at a time. Use a toothbrush that has the American Dental Association seal of approval. Soft-bristled brushes are always best unless your dentist recommends another type of brush for your needs.
Floss or use another interdental cleaner once each day. Flossing gets rid of plaque and particles between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach. Swish with a non-alcohol mouth rinse once daily also, to best protect your teeth and gums.
Adjust Your Dental Care for Morning Sickness
Morning sickness is a common problem during pregnancy. In fact, most pregnant women experience some incidences of morning sickness. Discuss your symptoms with your prenatal doctor.
Also, always tend to your teeth and gums after vomiting. Try mixing a teaspoon of baking soda with eight ounces of water, and then rinse your mouth after vomiting. Doing so can help prevent damage to your teeth. Otherwise, the stomach acid from the vomit can attack the enamel on your teeth.
Finally, contact your dentist with any questions that come up about your oral health throughout your pregnancy. At Crest Hill Family Dental, we are committed to supporting the dental health of our patients through all stages of their lives.