Daily dental care is just as important as maintaining your routine dental appointments during pregnancy. Brushing every morning and night for two minutes, will help properly remove plaque buildup. You should also be rinsing with water after eating a snack to remove any food build up on your teeth. Use a fluoridated toothpaste – your dental provider can make a recommendation if you have questions about which toothpaste to use.

The proper brushing technique is to angle the bristles toward the gum line, brush the outside surface, inside surface, and chewing surface of each tooth thoroughly. Brush your tongue to prevent bad breath and buildup of bacteria. Be sure to replace your toothbrush every three months, and after being sick.

Flossing and Mouthwash

Floss between your teeth at least once per day. Flossing alone can clean about half (40%) of the tooth surface. The area between teeth that can be cleaned by flossing, is the most frequent area where cavities begin to form!

A Mouthwash (also called mouthrinse) may be a helpful addition to your daily dental hygiene routine. It can help reduce plaque buildup (the thin film of bacteria that forms on teeth), prevent or reduce gingivitis (an early stage of gum disease), and help reduce the speed that tartar (hardened plaque) forms on the teeth. Make sure to use a mouthrinse with the Seal of Approval from the ADA.

Signs of Pregnancy Gingivitis

Pregnant women experience elevated levels of hormones that can cause the gums to react differently to the bacteria found in plaque. In many cases this can cause a temporary condition known as pregnancy gingivitis.

Pregnancy gingivitis (also known as swollen gums) is an inflammation of the gums. Swollen gums during pregnancy may be sore and more susceptible to bleeding.

If you experience:

  • Tender/sore gums
  • Bad breath or bad taste that will not go away
  • Bleeding gums while brushing or flossing (even while maintaining good daily habits)

This may be a sign of pregnancy gingivitis. Contact your dentist if swelling and irritation worsen during your pregnancy.

Signs of Gum Tumors

Along with bleeding gums during pregnancy, you may notice new large lumps on your gums that have formed. Most commonly, they occur on the top six front teeth, on the gum that lies in between the teeth. After delivering the baby, monitor the size of the gum tumors, most shrink/completely disappear on their own, but it is possible that your dental provider will need to remove it themselves.

Signs of Cavities

In between your routine visits to a dental provider, it is useful to perform regular visual inspections of your teeth.

  • White and brown spots on your teeth are early signs of cavities.
  • Black spots, and holes in your teeth are signs of moderate to severe tooth decay.
  • Sensitivity to foods high in sugar.
  • Pain near your ear or the bottom of your jaw

When signs of moderate to severe tooth decay are visible, it is wise to schedule a visit with your dental provider, to prevent the infection from spreading.

Signs of Teeth Grinding

If you suffer from:

  • Sore cheek muscles
  • Sore jaw
  • Sensitive teeth

…and you notice the length of your teeth shortening, you may be grinding or clenching. Let your dental provider know of these signs so that they can provide or recommend a preventive appliance to protect your teeth.