Updated: Nov 29, 2021
Did you know that rising hormones during pregnancy can cause a woman to experience a host of dental concerns? Yep, among the many other things pregnancy demands there is a need to give extra loving care to oral health! Rising ovarian hormones, estrogen and progesterone cause the body to produce more bacteria in the mouth which increases the risk of gingivitis (inflamed gums) and cavities. (Oral contraceptives have also been studied to have this same hormonal impact.) Common pregnancy symptoms include tooth sensitivity, overall swelling, and bleeding of the gums, and the arrival of cavities. Not only is it important for the woman to maintain healthy teeth and gums for her own health, but baby's health is a factor as studies have found that oral bacteria can find its way into the amniotic fluid which can lead to premature childbirth. So what is a momma to do?
I went into pregnancy knowing these “fun facts” about an increase in bacteria during pregnancy. So, I made it my goal to stay on top of brushing and flossing. A recent trip to the dentist revealed that to my dismay, those lovely hormones are still causing a small level of inflammation, putting me at risk for pregnancy gingivitis. (Thankfully I am still cavity free! Yay!) So, to prevent gingivitis, I am pulling out all the tricks to nourish and pamper my mouth these final four months of my pregnancy so that baby and I can finish strong.
First and foremost a nutrient dense diet is the foundation for optimal oral health. Do you remember our recent discussion on Dr. Weston A. Price, the dentist who investigated the link between industrialized foods and poor oral health. He found that a diet free from processed foods not only prevented the modern diseases of the day such as heart disease, cancer, and obesity. But also prevented cavities, tooth decay, overcrowding of teeth in children, and other dental concerns. Not only does a nutrient dense diet eliminate sugar, which is a huge culprit because it feeds bacteria, but this diet provides amazing vitamins, minerals, and antioidants to strengthen the mouth and prevent oral disease.
Secondly, flossing and brushing regularly after meals, ideally three times daily, is also important. And I have found that I tend to be a speed flosser. Maybe you can relate? Taking our time to do a thorough job flossing and brushing is key. As a bonus, using an electric toothbrush and water pik are tools that can elevate your oral routine.
These are the basics, but interestingly there are a few more things to understand when it comes to oral health and they are relevant for every season of life, from childhood to late adulthood. So, I want to take some time to provide you with more articles on oral health. May they leave you inspired to eat healthier options and prioritize your pearly whites. Topics I plan to cover include the following list:
Recipe: Bentonite Clay Toothpaste
Gut Connection to Oral Health
Fluoride: Is it Healthy?
Remineralizing and Reversing Tooth Decay
Breastfeeding Benefits for Baby’s Oral Health
As we begin this focus, I would love to hear if you have specific questions I can cover or oral health topics you would love to learn about!