Oral Hygiene and Your Pregnancy

Expecting a baby soon? Congratulations! This is a wonderful adventure you’re about to embark upon.

As you prepare, don’t forget your oral hygiene. Practicing good dental habits are just as important now as before you became pregnant, if not even more so.

First, let us dispel a common myth: it is not true that you lose calcium from your teeth during pregnancy. Your baby gets her calcium from the food you eat, not by leaching it from your teeth.

Because your baby receives her calcium needs from your diet, it’s important that you eat plenty of leafy, green vegetables such as mustard greens, broccoli and kale (these foods are a great source of calcium as well as milk and yogurt (if you’re able to tolerate the lactose). Your physician also may recommend vitamin and mineral supplements to help make sure you get enough calcium for two.

You might notice some changes in your oral health while pregnant. Many changes are due to an increase in hormones, particularly progesterone and estrogen. This increase can mean that your gum tissues may have an exaggerated reaction to plaque.

If you don’t brush your teeth daily, plaque buildup at any time of your life can lead to it hardening into tartar, which can lead to gingivitis, a condition in which your gums can become swollen, red and tender, rendering them more likely to bleed.

Because your hormones can exaggerate your reaction to plaque, don’t be surprised if you experience what’s known as “pregnancy gingivitis,” which does affect most pregnant women to some degree. What’s more, if you already have the condition, it more than likely will become a bit worse while you’re pregnant.

To combat this increased likelihood of gingivitis, it’s critical that you make sure you brush twice a day, floss once a day and see your dentist regularly for checkups. You also may want to step up your daily oral regime by brushing three times a day (after every meal), flossing twice each day (in the morning and before bed) and seeing your dentist every quarter instead of every six months.

In addition, recent studies are finding that a pregnant woman’s oral health can have an impact on her baby’s birth weight. Gum disease may be linked to a low birth weight as well as a pre-term birth. So if you won’t take care of your teeth for yourself, do it for your baby!

Don’t forget to tell your dentist about your pregnancy, as well. If you’ve just learned that you’re pregnant, schedule your next dental appointment with Plano dentist Dr. Darren Dickson today. Call us by phone or send us an e-mail message at [email protected].

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