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What to Expect for Your Oral Health

 
Image of pregnant woman brushing her teeth

Now that you're pregnant

Being pregnant comes with many responsibilities—and oral hygiene is no exception. Talk to your dentist about what types of oral care products will be most effective for you. In addition to your brushing and flossing routine, you may want to rinse every night with an over-the-counter and fluoridated mouthrinse. Look for the ADA Seal on fluoride toothpastes, toothbrushes, floss, mouth rinses and other oral hygiene products. The ADA Seal lets you know the product has met ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness.
 
image of pregnant woman visiting dentist

Talk to your dentist

For most women, routine dental visits are safe during pregnancy, but be sure to let your dental office know what stage of pregnancy you are in when you make your appointment. Tell your dentist of any change in the medications you take or if you have received any special advice from your physician. If you have a high-risk pregnancy or you have some other medical condition, your dentist and your physician may recommend that treatment be postponed.
 
Photo of teeth and gum showing gum disease

Changes in your mouth

During pregnancy some women may find they are prone to  pregnancy gingivitis—a mild form of gum disease that causes gums to be red, tender and sore. You can prevent gingivitis by keeping your teeth clean. Your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings to help control gingivitis. If you notice any changes in your mouth during pregnancy, see your dentist. If gingivitis is not treated, it can lead to more serious gum disease.
 
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Your diet matters

Did you know that your baby’s teeth will begin to develop between the third and sixth months? That’s why you need a sufficient quantityof nutrients—especially vitamins A, C, and D, protein, calcium and phosphorous. While it’s normal for pregnant woman to have the desire to eat more, frequent snacking can be an invitation to tooth decay.  When you do snack, choose foods that are low in sugar and nutritious for you and your baby such as raw fruits and vegetables, yogurt, or cheese, and make sure to follow your physician’s advice regarding diet.
 
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X-rays are safe

Dental X-rays are sometimes necessary if you suffer a dental emergency or need a dental problem diagnosed. Your dentist or hygienist will cover you with a leaded apron that minimizes exposure to the abdomen. Your dental office will also whenever possible cover your throat with a leaded thyroid collar to protect the thyroid from radiation.
 
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Dealing with morning sickness

Feeling queasy? If you have morning sickness and are vomiting frequently, try rinsing with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water to stop stomach acid from attacking your teeth.

 
Image of baby for pregnancy slide show

After your baby is born

Continue taking care of your mouth and your baby’s mouth, too. Although newborns usually have no visible teeth, most baby teeth begin to appear generally about six months after birth. Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur.