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It's no secret to women everywhere that pregnancy has an impact on every aspect of your life and your body. Dental health is no exception. Dr. Mandy Shearer at Soddy Daisy Smiles is expecting her first child and can say firsthand how it's not only changed her own oral care routine, but it's driven her to share with other women the importance of giving your smile even better care and attention during these all-important weeks of getting ready for your little one.

"Probably at the top of the list for many women is the battle with 'morning sickness,'" Dr. Mandy said. "For most women, it's a struggle during all times of the day and just during the morning hours, and if you find yourself as one of the ones throwing up a lot, that can wear on your teeth."

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She encourages women who have this struggle to hold off on grabbing the toothbrush immediately after getting sick and instead opt for swishing some baking soda and water.

"The baking soda is basic and will help neutralize those stomach acids that can damage your enamel," she explained. "Rinse with this mixture and then you can brush without worry."

Hormones are also constantly changing and creating both pros and cons for your body during pregnancy, and studies have shown that these same pregnancy hormones actually cause swelling and sensitivity in the gums. If not monitored, this can lead to pregnancy gingivitis.

"You might notice your gums bleed more while you're pregnant," Dr. Mandy said. "Some women may need more advanced care, but mostly, as long as you keep up a good brushing and flossing routine at home to prevent the tartar build up, you should be okay."

 She added that switching to a soft bristle toothbrush can also provide relief and making sure to floss at least once daily should help against the gum swelling.

Of course, like any time in your life, a solid oral health routine is important, but especially during pregnancy when women are at a higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease. While it may seem like these conditions are something only for mom to consider, if left untreated, Dr. Mandy cautioned that they can actually lead to problems for baby too.

 "Women can be put at a higher risk for preterm or low-birth weight babies," she explained. "Just like it's key to keep up your health in every other area while waiting for baby, be sure not to neglect your mouth during these precious months either." 

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Another common problem women can find themselves working against in their dental health during pregnancy is dry mouth. Again, thanks to the joy of hormones, the saliva in the mouth can be lacking. Dr. Mandy said women should make sure they stay well hydrated, drink plenty of water and chew a sugarless gum to help increase the production of saliva if needed.

Finally, regular dental checkups during your pregnancy should not be overlooked. If you're having trouble with your teeth, the sooner you can get in with your dentist, the better, so he or she can help get you and keep you on the right track.

MORE INFORMATION

For more information how to take care of your teeth during pregnancy, or to schedule an appointment, call Soddy-Daisy Smiles at 423-332-5275 or visit soddydaisysmiles.com

"Be sure to let us know you're pregnant when you schedule your appointment, or if it's already booked, call to let us know before you come in," Dr. Mandy said. "During your visit, we can talk about any stress or concerns you have and create a plan that's tailored to your oral health specifically."

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