As if pregnancy wasn’t difficult enough, along with the baby you can be carrying a host of dental issues. That’s because pregnancy hormones and morning sickness can result in unique challenges to maintaining proper dental hygiene. Dr. Tsolair Hovsepian, a dentist based in the Los Angeles area and a mom herself, says that despite the difficulties that pregnancy can bring to dental care, keeping a mouth full of clean pearly whites and gums while baby on board is important.”Pregnant women should absolutely visit the dentist,” Hovsepian says. “It is very important to keep up with dental recall appointments to ensure that oral health is maintained.” And according to March of Dimes, good dental care during pregnancy can even help the baby be healthy.
Dr. Hovsepian explains that the nausea of morning sickness can contribute to plaque and tartar buildup, along with decay. If the morning sickness is severe enough to cause vomiting, acid exposure in the mouth can also cause decay. In addition, the hormones of pregnancy can contribute to a condition called “pregnancy gingivitis”, which is redness and swelling of the gums that is sometimes aggravated by plaque buildup. The hormones can contribute to “pregnancy tumors” on the gums. These “tumors” aren’t cancer, but rather bumps on the gums between the teeth. These bumps go away after pregnancy. “The best way that pregnant women can prevent these problems is to maintain proper hygiene on a daily basis–brushing twice a day and flossing daily,” Hovsepian says.”Pregnant and nursing women should avoid whitening products and stick to regular brushing and flossing”, she adds.
Beyond the daily brush and floss routine, pregnant women should continue visiting the dentist, according to Hovsepian, and let their dentist know that they’re pregnant. The dentist should also know how far along the pregnancy is, any complications or high-risk status, and what medications the pregnant patient is taking. Although morning sickness can make the thought of opening wide for a check-up nauseating, Hovsepian says quicker and gentler check-ups can ease the process.
On a more personal level, Hovsepian believes the more natural products a pregnant woman can use, the better. “Oral health is linked to overall health, so all products matter”, she notes. “As a dentist and mom myself, I found myself paying more attention to ingredients in everything that I use on my body and that I ingest, because my body was essentially connected to my baby’s body,” she says. “I did a lot of research on ingredients that I was unsure about and thereby found myself turning to more natural and organically driven products. It is never too early or late to start taking good care of yourself, because taking care of yourself means taking the best care of your baby.”
More Pregnancy Health:
- 11 Incredibly Nutritious Smoothies for Pregnancy
- Is It Safe to Get a Flu Shot While You’re Pregnant?
- Secrets to Choosing the Best Prenatal Vitamins