If you are pregnant or hoping to become pregnant, congratulations! You are probably overwhelmed with planning and preparing yourself. Everything from nursery designs, to baby clothes, to how to care for your child are all on your mind. Of course, your primary focus will be concerning your health. It’s best for you and your growing baby to stay healthy during your pregnancy, and brushing and flossing during pregnancy is part of good oral care.
Why Flossing During Pregnancy Is So Important
Pregnancy is a process that causes dramatic health changes in all parts of your body, not just your growing belly. There are many changes in that take place in your mouth during pregnancy than can adversely affect your dental health and cause you discomfort.
Flossing is an essential part of your overall dental health. When we eat, plaque builds up on our teeth and while a toothbrush can reach most areas of the teeth, only flossing can remove buildup between teeth, which keeps your gums healthy and teeth clean. Flossing is essentially interdental cleaning.
One way to understand the impact of flossing is to compare it to other types of cleaning. You wouldn’t simply wash only one side of a dish before putting it away, would you? Skipping flossing is like only cleaning the outside of your teeth, leaving the buildup between teeth.
During pregnancy, women are more prone to experience gingivitis or gum disease, which is characterized by irritated, tender, or swollen gums. Another complication during pregnancy can be an amplified response to plaque. These changes, caused by hormones, are all contributing factors that make flossing during pregnancy even more important for a healthy smile.
Delivering A Healthy Baby
Flossing during pregnancy is important not only for the mother-to-be, but for her growing child as well. According to the Journal of Periodontology, pregnant women who experienced periodontitis were significantly more likely to experience certain types of delivery complications, such as preeclampsia, high blood pressure, and low birth weight. It is believed that the microorganisms and bacteria that live in your mouth travel through the bloodstream and can pass through the placenta as well. Inflammation caused by periodontitis may also play a contributing factor to why gum disease can affect your baby.
These complications can be avoided or significantly reduced by ensuring proper dental health. Proper and regular brushing and flossing during pregnancy can greatly improve not only your smile, but your delivery as well!
Diabetes During Pregnancy
If you are a diabetic and pregnant, brushing and flossing during pregnancy is even more important for you. While pregnancy alone will increase your risks of gingivitis, being a diabetic increases your risk even further because the higher blood sugar levels in your system create an enticing environment for bacteria that can lead to plaque and gingivitis.
A regular trip to your dental office during pregnancy and ensuring regular at-home dental care by brushing and flossing twice daily can help keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy and clean.
Make Oral Health a Routine
For most people, brushing twice a day is a part of their daily routine. If you haven’t started already, now is the time to start adding flossing to your routine as well. The American Dental Association recommends that women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant brush and floss a minimum of once a day, to help reduce the chances of gum disease.
It doesn’t matter whether you choose to floss first, or brush first, but doing both will help ensure a healthier, cleaner smile. If you feel discomfort when flossing, be sure you are being gentle with your gums, and consider other types of flossing products. There is a broad range of flossing products, including waxed, unwaxed, tiny brushes, water flossers, and picks, there is sure to be one that works comfortably and best for your teeth.
Getting into the habit of brushing and flossing regularly during pregnancy and beyond will help keep your smile healthy and clean, as well as make you the role model as you welcome your child into the world and pass on good dental habits to the next generation.