Having a baby is wonderful news; it’s also a time many women begin to focus on health. A healthy diet, a practical exercise routine, and regular doctor visits are generally top 3 priorities (in some order) for the pregnant mom to be. However, there are a multitude of reasons to focus on your oral health during pregnancy. Good oral health, in addition to being a good idea in general, can both complement a healthy pregnancy and is associated with improved pregnancy outcomes.
Although there may be abundant reasons to pay attention to your teeth and gums, pregnancy is a busy time, so a few clear reasons to remember can help. The top 3 reasons to focus on your oral health during pregnancy are:
- Gum disease is associated with low birth weight and premature delivery.
- Babies take a lot out of you… and the enamel on your teeth.
- Hormone changes of pregnancy change your oral environment, and often not for the better.
Continue reading to learn more about these changes to your oral health.
1- Gum disease is associated with low birth weight and premature delivery.
Most important of all, gum disease, and poor oral health in general, are associated with increased risk of poor outcomes. The bacteria associated with cavity development is also associated with premature delivery and low birth weight. More and more, science bears out that good oral health is important for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
2- Babies take a lot out of you…and the enamel on your teeth
Pregnancy can pose a double dose of danger for tooth enamel. The enamel is endangered by acid erosion and mineral depletion.
Morning sickness, of course, is not restricted to morning time. The unpleasant vomiting does more than ruin mealtimes. The acid on the teeth can erode tooth enamel. It’s vital to rinse with water or a CariFree Rinse after bouts with morning sickness to keep your enamel on your teeth where it belongs. Brushing immediately after can actually make erosion worse by scrubbing away the very enamel from your teeth that your stomach acid dissolved out of the tooth surface.
3- Hormone changes of pregnancy change your oral environment, and often not for the better
You know that pregnancy completely changes the hormone levels in your body. Did you know those hormones changes do more than make your joints more flexible, put your emotions on high alert, and double the fluid volume in your body? They radically shift your oral environment as well.
The increased fluid volume generally causes the gums to swell. Swollen gums are easily aggravated by a buildup of food particles or bacteria. It’s vital to brush well, floss, and visit the dentist regularly to keep the newly tender gums free of infection.
Pregnancy hormones also can cause dry mouth. Dry mouth is a major risk factor for cavity formation. Most of us would prefer not to have a cavity filled at all, much less having to deal with a cavity while pregnant. Using a CariFree Rinse can help moisturize your mouth and keep the cavity-causing bacteria at bay.
Although rare, mineral depletion can occur in pregnancy as well. If your diet is deficient in key minerals, especially calcium, while the baby is growing, building bone and teeth of their own, your body will take the minerals wherever it can find them. That includes your bone and tooth enamel. It’s just another reason why healthy eating is vital to a healthy pregnancy.