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If you have not seen your dentist in a while and you are pregnant, now is the perfect time get a checkup and dental cleaning! Your oral health is just as important to your developing baby as it is for your own pearly whites and especially your gums.

Your gums react differently during pregnancy. The increase in estrogen and progesterone cause your gums to swell and bleed when you brush and floss. This can begin in the second month of pregnancy and usually continues through the eighth. After birth, as your hormones go back to normal levels, this will stop.

Known as “pregnancy gingivitis”, it can cause preterm delivery and a low birth weight as a result. The bacteria from your infected gums travel to your uterus through the bloodstream, triggering prostaglandins which induce labor. This is yet another reason to make sure your gums are healthy!

Another gum condition which can develop is known as “pregnancy tumors”. While they are uncomfortable and bleed easily, these non-cancerous growths in the bums are not dangerous. Shrinking on their own after delivery, they arise due to hormone changes, viruses, trauma, and poor hygiene.

During this time don’t be tempted to slack on your daily oral hygiene care. Make sure to brush and floss your teeth and gums at least twice each day. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush to be gentle on gums and tooth enamel. If you have morning sickness, rinse your mouth well with water before brushing, or better yet, lower the pH levels in your mouth after vomiting by swishing with a solution of water and baking soda. Brushing after vomiting can erode your tooth enamel from the extra acids in your mouth. Finally, rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash to reduce plaque.

Other protections during pregnancy:

–avoid dry mouth by drinking extra water. You want to protect teeth and gums from plaque by keeping your saliva production.
–Avoid sugary, starchy foods which contribute to plaque buildup.
–protect your tooth enamel and sensitive gums by nourishing them with plenty of leafy greens and lean protein.

During this special time, create your best oral health yet and let our dental team help you along the way! At Great Lakes Family Dental we will keep you smiling. Give our office a call today at the location nearest you if you would like to schedule an appointment or to address any concerns.