You’re expecting! Taking excellent care of yourself and your baby is sure to be on the top of your to-do list in the months and years ahead.
Why is oral health so important?
Healthy teeth and gums contribute to overall health.
Babies can also suffer from oral health problems including painful teething, oral infections and early childhood caries (cavities). Preventing cavities in baby teeth is very important to help ensure proper development and positioning of permanent teeth.
The good new for moms and babies is that with regular dental care and good oral hygiene, you can both enjoy a lifetime of oral health.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease begins with the formation of hard and soft deposits on the surface of the teeth called plaque. Over time plaque hardens and becomes calculus or tartar.
With poor oral hygiene, the bacteria in the plaque cause inflammation of the gums known as gingivitis. Gingivitis eventually becomes periodontal disease which is disease of the underlying, supporting structures of teeth. Periodontal disease, if left untreated, will cause bone loss and eventual mobility and perhaps, abscess and loss of teeth.
The warning signs of gum disease are:
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Gums that pull away from the teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Loose or separating teeth
For some women, the hormones of pregnancy can aggravate existing oral health conditions such as tender, bleeding gums. More frequent visits during your pregnancy may be recommended to keep your plaque and bleeding gums under control.
Brushing: Place your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to the junction between the tooth and gum, apply gentle pressure as you move the toothbrush away from the gums. Remember to brush your tongue with or without toothpaste! You should be spending about 3 minutes each time you brush.
Wrap 45 cm (18 in.) of floss around your middle fingers until you have a two-inch length between your fingers. With the thumb and forefinger of each hand, guide the floss gently and carefully between each tooth, using a back and forth motion. Curve the floss around each tooth in a “C” shape and gently guide it up and under the gum line
Special care during pregnancy:
If you suffer from a sensitive stomach during your pregnancy, rinse your mouth or brush your teeth at frequent intervals and try using a smaller toothbrush. Turning your head down over the sink while brushing will help relax the throat and allow saliva to flow out.
If you are eating more frequently or have unusual sweet cravings, you may be at increased risk for cavities. Instead of eating sugary snacks, include plenty of fresh, raw fruits and vegetables in your diet.
Good daily oral hygiene and regular dental check ups are important for your dental health. Unless your caregiver advises otherwise, regular dental visits are important during pregnancy as well. Generally, the second trimester is the best time to receive routine care.