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If you’re pregnant, your body is undergoing a lot of changes lately, and your mouth is no exception! It is now more important than ever to take the necessary steps to protect your oral health. To keep your teeth and gums in good condition throughout your pregnancy, follow these easy steps.

1. Take extra care of your gums.

Do you notice your gums bleeding more frequently now that you’re pregnant? If so, you’re likely experiencing a common oral health issue that occurs in pregnant women: pregnancy gingivitis. This condition can begin as early as your second month of pregnancy, and it often is at its worst in your eighth month. Luckily, your pregnancy gingivitis should subside after the baby is born. However, it is important to keep this illness at bay throughout the pregnancy, as gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease—an oral health issue that has been linked to premature birth. To help protect your gums during this period, be sure to floss daily. You should also brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush at least twice per day. Finally, it is recommended that you use an antibacterial mouthwash to ward off an infection of the gums.

2. Take special precautions if you have morning sickness.

Many women experience morning sickness as part of their pregnancy. Unfortunately, this can raise some oral health concerns, as stomach acids can be quite corrosive on your dental enamel. In fact, heartburn and acid reflux can even cause similar damage to your teeth. To prevent tooth decay as a result of morning sickness, you should not brush your teeth immediately after being sick. Doing so while the acids remain on your teeth can actually further corrode your dental enamel. Instead, rinse with a water and baking soda mixture first. This will neutralize the acids in your mouth and make it safe to brush your teeth.

3. Drink plenty of water and chew sugar-free gum.

When you’re pregnant, your salivary glands often fail to produce enough saliva to keep your mouth moist. The result is an uncomfortable, yet common symptom known as dry mouth. Not only does dry mouth make it difficult to chew, swallow, and even speak, but it can also lead to halitosis (bad breath) and tooth decay. To combat the effects of dry mouth, be sure to drink plenty of water. You should also chew sugar-free gum that contains the ingredient xylitol. This will help to boost your saliva production and fight tooth decay throughout your pregnancy.

4. Make an appointment with your dentist during the second trimester.

One of the best things you can do to protect your oral health as well as the health of your baby during your pregnancy is to visit the dentist. Be sure to let your dentist know when you are pregnant, as they will adjust their treatments and medications accordingly. According to the American Pregnancy Association, the best time to visit the dentist for a professional cleaning or any minor restorations (such as fillings) is during your second trimester. Your dentist will be able to make sure you remain in good health throughout the pregnancy and give you extra tips and tricks to keep issues like pregnancy gingivitis under control.

To maintain your oral health throughout your pregnancy, be sure to schedule your next dentist appointment! Call Downtown Dental in River North or the Loop today to book your visit.