Many moms-to-be don’t realize that their oral health matters a great deal during pregnancy. In fact, how you care for your teeth can affect the health of your child after it’s born. Studies show that expecting mothers with periodontal disease or gum disease are 18% more likely to have premature births and babies born with a low birth weight.
Because of hormonal imbalances, pregnancy can also increase those changes of gum disease. And expecting mothers who already suffer from gum diseases have an increased chance of them worsening during pregnancy. Not to mention the increased chance of tooth decay because of calcium depletion, new cravings and vomiting due to morning sickness.
But there are precautions you can take to help you and your baby thrive during your pregnancy. Here are the top habits to get into during your next nine months and beyond:
1. Brushing and flossing
Brush at least twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste. Make sure you floss every night before bed.
2. Eat healthy
Despite those insatiable cravings, try your best to eat healthy and stick to your doctors advice. When you absolutely need to snack, try fruit for the sweet cravings.
3. Don’t skip your dental check-ups
The best way to keep up with your oral health is to make your 6-month appointments a priority. Do yourself one better. If you’re planning on getting pregnant, visit the dentist beforehand and see what oral issues you have and what you’re predisposed for.
4. Rinse, rinse, rinse
When you do have morning sickness, or even after eating, rinse with a mouthwash fortified with fluoride to help remove bacteria keep your teeth strong.
5. Drink water
Drink plenty of water with fluoride. It has a similar effect to rinsing with mouthwash, but it will do double duty and keep you hydrated, too!