Brushing for Two
You’re doing everything you can to make sure your baby develops healthy and strong: eating right, exercising, staying away from harmful substances… but did you know that your own dental health is another key part of your baby’s health?
It’s true—during pregnancy, you’re more likely to develop certain dental problems like excess bacteria in the mouth, which causes cavities and gum disease. This bacteria can also enter your bloodstream and lead to pregnancy complications, including preterm labor and delivery.
Here are some tips to help you keep your teeth and gums in tip-top shape during pregnancy:
- Keep your regular dental checkups (usually every six months).
- Remember that dental X-rays are safe and helpful during pregnancy—just make sure your dentist knows that you’re pregnant, as they may want to double up on your radiation shield.
- Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste—use a soft-bristle toothbrush to protect sensitive gums.
- Floss once a day, every day, even though it may make your gums bleed.
- Try to limit sugary foods and drinks to help prevent cavities.
Be sure and call your dentist if you notice any dental problems during your pregnancy, even between regular checkups. Signs and symptoms to watch out for include:
- Pain in your teeth or gums
- Red, shiny or swollen gums
- Receding gums (where you can see more of your tooth than usual, maybe even the root)
- Loose teeth
- Bad breath that doesn’t improve when you brush or rinse
- Sores, pockets of pus or lumps inside your mouth and/or along your gumline
- Spaces between your teeth that are new
So, even on those nights when you’re so tired that all you want to do is fall into bed—remember, you’re now brushing for two!
When you are sick or hurt, BayCare offers several convenient health care services that help you get care now.