While maintaining good oral hygiene is important at all stages in life, it becomes arguably even more important when you're pregnant. So how can the state of your teeth and gums affect your unborn child? And what steps do you need to take to ensure that your oral hygiene does not adversely affect your unborn child?
A Little-Known Link
It's one of the lesser-known aspects of prenatal health, but it has been suggested that there is a link between gum disease and premature births. The study was presented at a meeting of the American Association for Dental Research back in 2010, and is something that all expectant parents should be aware of. The direct correlation between gum disease in an expectant mother and the likelihood of a premature birth is not entirely clear. But it seems to increase the risk of a premature birth, and women with gum disease can be up to three times more likely to be at risk of a premature birth. If you are aware of the poor state of your teeth and gums when you become pregnant, it's important to see your dentist as soon as possible to rectify the causes of your problems.
Tell Your Dentist
It's up to you who you tell about your pregnancy, but remember that your dentist is a healthcare professional. It's important that you tell your dentist that you're pregnant when you receive treatment. Your pregnancy might mean that your dentist needs to amend your course of treatment. Your dentist might abstain from giving you an x-ray, for example. Your dentist might also wish to delay teeth whitening treatment. There is a small chance that you will swallow a miniscule amount of the hydrogen peroxide whitening solution. While this is not harmful to you, it can pose a health risk to your unborn baby.
If you've suffered from morning sickness during your pregnancy, you will know how sensitive your oral region can be. It can become very easy to gag, retch, and even vomit. If you should suffer from these sensations while brushing your teeth, it can be tempting to not brush your teeth properly. There are ways to overcome this. You might wish to switch to an ultrasoft child's toothbrush to reduce the impact of your usual toothbrush. As this is not as effective as an adult's toothbrush, it can be important to balance this with another method of cleaning. Invest in a water-based flossing device which directs a jet of water between your teeth to dislodge any debris. It's highly effective and is less intrusive than other methods of cleaning your teeth.
Maintaining good oral hygiene is important for both you and your unborn baby. Fortunately it's not so difficult to take the necessary steps to keep your teeth and your baby healthy.