Oral care is important for pregnant women. Pregnancy changes the health of teeth and gums. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can actually increase the incidence of gum disease. Therefore, it is important to know what to look for and how to ensure proper oral care while you are pregnant.

Common oral issues during pregnancy

If your pregnancy is causing extended morning sickness, it may be difficult to brush correctly and consistently. Frequent vomiting can erode tooth enamel on the back of your front teeth. This means that proper oral care is especially important. Consult with your physician and dentist about frequent and prolonged morning sickness. A bland-tasting toothpaste may also help.

If you are expecting, you may notice redness, swelling, or bleeding of the gums. This is called pregnancy gingivitis. It sometimes begins around the second month of pregnancy but it is most common in the eighth month. Your increased hormone levels can fuel a certain type of gingivitis-causing bacteria in the mouth. So take extra care with oral hygiene, including brushing with fluoride toothpaste at least two times per day and flossing every day. Your dentist will observe any changes in gum tissue and recommend any additional treatment, if needed. Make sure he or she knows that you are expecting.

Your pregnancy could also give you ongoing dry mouth. Your saliva helps to combat cavity-forming bacteria, so dentists recommend drinking a lot of water and chewing sugarless gum. Sugarless gums and hard candies that contain xylitol can reduce the bacteria that cause plaque and cavities.

Dental cleaning while you are pregnant

Yes, it is safe for you to have teeth cleaning while you are pregnant. Just be sure to tell the dentist and hygienists that you are expecting so they can adjust their plan of action as appropriate. The hygienist will position you in a comfortable, safe position. He or she will also take precautions with your cleaning as needed. The second trimester is probably the best time to have a teeth cleaning for both safety and your comfort.

A healthy pregnancy is the best start to a healthy family. Do not be afraid to visit the dentist, because oral health is as important as body health. Always consult with your physician and other medical professionals as needed.