Planning for a new baby is an exciting time! There’s so much to think about before your bundle of joy arrives, including how to take care of yourself throughout the nine month stretch. Regular prenatal visits are probably at the top of your list, but don’t disregard the importance of dental hygiene during this time as well. Part of keeping yourself healthy includes taking care of your teeth to keep your happy, healthy smile all throughout pregnancy and beyond!
Did you know that your baby’s teeth begin to develop between the third and sixth months of your pregnancy? Crazy to think that teeth form that early! Maintaining good dental habits during your pregnancy will keep your teeth in good shape and will also contribute to the formation of a good set of teeth for your little one.
The best thing you can do? Be sure to keep your regularly scheduled preventative oral health care visits, meaning don’t forget to get your teeth cleaned! Regular cleanings can help your dentist spot anything that might be of concern.
And be sure to let your dentist know that you’re expecting. Changing hormones during pregnancy can make some dental problems worse. Your dentist will be able to give you any additional advice you need to take good care of yourself.
For example, some pregnant women find that they experience bleeding, swollen gums. Your dentist will have tips to care for your gums and reduce any discomfort. Certain medications are also available to help, so ask your dentist for advice.
Pregnant women also sometimes experience what’s called “pregnancy tumors,” an overgrowth of soft tissue, on their gums during the second trimester. These aren’t dangerous and can be prevented by removing plaque. If you do experience these tumors, take heart — they can be removed if they don’t disappear after the baby is born.
Even if you don’t experience any changes in your teeth or gums, the American Dental Association says that it’s more important than ever to brush with fluoridated toothpaste twice a day! Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, and floss at least once a day.
And, of course, maintaining a healthy diet is critical during this time not only to give you and your bundle the right nutrients to grow, but also to help prevent tooth decay and weakened enamel.
For more information on what to expect during your pregnancy, or for more tips and advice, visit the American Dental Association website!