Your Mouth & Your Uterus: Oral Health During Pregnancy
When my husband and I decided to try for a baby, I called my mom and then my dentist.
My mom, well, that’s easy to understand. A girl needs her cheerleader at such times.
As for my dentist—I wasn’t sure, but I had heard rumors that you weren’t supposed to see the dentist while you were pregnant. I mean, surely something in that high-tech environment must be dangerous, right? So, I dutifully went in for a cleaning before I decided to share my body with a tiny fetus.
Two years later (one for pregnancy, one for infancy/sleep deprivation), I went back to my dentist and proudly told her why I hadn’t seen her in a while: I had a baby! Only, then she let me know how wrong I had been about avoiding the dentist while pregnant. She was very understanding, and we had this conversation while I changed my daughter’s diaper, but I was still embarrassed.
Here’s the truth: It’s actually very important to see the dentist when you’re pregnant. The state of your mouth reveals a ton about your lifestyle and general wellbeing. Dentists are right up there with doctors and midwives as important partners in health.
For example, the state of your mouth can tell your dentist how hydrated you are, how well you might be sleeping, and if you might be stressed. Jaw pain and headaches can also be addressed by taking a look at your teeth.
If you’re pregnant or trying to be:
- Tell your dentist, no matter how early it might be. They’ll know exactly what is safe and unsafe for you and they’ll pay special attention to what you might need in this unique time.
- Continue brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist as usual. Especially as you may be snacking more often (or, sadly, losing your lunch), your mouth deserves special attention right now along with the rest of your body.
- Pay attention to your gums. It’s not yet understood how, but gum disease has been linked with pre-term birth and low birth weight for babies. Gum disease is inflammation, a natural sign that something is off and your body is trying to kill germs and heal. There’s a lot of talk lately about the effects of inflammation in your body and the role it plays in your overall health. Don’t disregard signs of inflammation in your mouth. Redness, soreness, and bleeding gums are often listed as symptoms of pregnancy, but don’t write them off as normal.
- Hormonal changes and diabetes put pregnant women at an increased risk for gum disease.
- Maintain dental visits after the baby is born. Most of the medicines and procedures are totally compatible with breastfeeding.
For all women (in baby-making mode or not), here are two final tips:
- Holistic dentistry is a growing field gaining more public interest. Savvy women can do a quick search online to find a holistic dental practitioner near them. These dentists are committed to dental treatments and materials that are believed to work more harmoniously with our body’s natural functions. Your mouth is the beginning of your digestive system and its home to hundreds of different types of bacteria!
- Your mouth loves essential oils. Our favorite accessory has yet another place in daily routines and hygiene. I bought Tooth and Gums Tonic® from my dentist. But you could also make your own mouthwash and toothpaste with oils that promote cleanliness and healing.
I love Hana’s mission to empower women in confidence and action. Please talk with your doctor and dentist to confirm what I’m sharing here. As you’ll be brushing your teeth exactly a million times for the rest of your life, it’s a habit worth some thought. And if you are gifted with a child, brushing your teeth will quickly become one of the most luxurious moments in your day.