Your pregnancy just might be the busiest time of your life. As soon as you find out you are pregnant, the planning begins. While you are wrapped up in family plans, home renovations, and baby shower registries, it’s easy to forget about some simple concepts you’ve been following your whole life. Many women that become pregnant easily forget about dental hygiene.

Though you have been brushing your whole life, certain factors may cause you to forget to do so during your pregnancy. Fatigue, distractions and stress might all have you going to bed at night without brushing. However, practicing good dental hygiene during your pregnancy is extremely important, and it could even affect your baby’s health. In the first trimester, you are at risk for pregnancy gingivitis. This is a condition that is caused by the change in hormones associated in childbirth, and it usually goes away once the baby is born. Although, if pregnancy gingivitis gets out of control and progresses beyond a temporary disease and into periodontitis, which is irreversible and associated with negative birth outcomes. In fact, periodontitis has been linked with preterm birth.

There are multiple ways to maintain proper oral hygiene during your pregnancy. One reason it is more difficult to do so while you’re bearing a child is because you are more likely to vomit due to nausea and morning sickness. If it’s an issue, treating nausea should be the first step in your dental care plan. Additionally, it is important to brush twice a day, floss every day, eat a well-balanced diet without too much sugar and avoid sharing eating utensils with others. While dental checkups are important, avoid treatments during your first trimester, as this is when the baby is developing. Also avoid dental x-rays at all points during your pregnancy if possible.

If you are pregnant or even thinking of becoming pregnant, make it a priority to speak with your dentist. Your oral hygiene has a surprisingly significant effect on your baby’s development, so it’s important that you make a hygiene plan together, in addition to taking care of any decay before you become pregnant. If you treat any dental diseases before pregnancy, they will not have any negative effect on the development of your baby. The most important thing you can do is maintain good hygiene for the entire duration of your pregnancy and keep communication open with your dentist.

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