Managing dental health in pregnancy and postpartum, not just with Sjögren’s

As someone who is required to visit the dentist 4 times a year, I’m always learning more about the importance of dental health and how to practice good dental habits. These same habits still apply when you become a mom.

Fun fact: many moms neglect their dental health after having a baby. It makes sense. You’re preoccupied with around the clock feedings and running on empty thanks to all those sleepless nights. Frankly, it’s never a good idea to stop brushing or flossing your teeth when you become a parent. And, unfortunately, if you’re a mom with Sjögren’s syndrome who already is at high risk of tooth decay, you really can’t afford to neglect your teeth.

Pregnancy really does wreak havoc on a woman’s body, even if you don’t have an autoimmune disorder. During the first trimester, if you’re nauseated and vomiting around the clock, the acid can gnaw away at the enamel of your teeth, resulting in tooth decay. It’s important to constantly rinse your mouth with water.

Unfortunately, during pregnancy the hormones can also negatively affect your saliva production. They can stop the saliva from regulating the bacteria in your mouth, resulting in gingivitis. They can also decrease your saliva.

Women who don’t suffer from Sjögren’s may suddenly find themselves experiencing the negative effects of a dry mouth.

If you are suffering from dry mouth, I highly recommend trying these lozenges, Slippery Elm bark tea (the tea is more effective than the capsule or a lozenge), and using this brand of mouthwash. I’ve used them to manage my own dry mouth night and day. To me, they’re the best on the market right now. You can also drink water infused with lemons throughout the day to help increase saliva.

Make it a priority to visit your dentist during pregnancy and within the first 3 months postpartum. I was able to take my son with me to the dentist so it made it easier to keep my appointments. You also might want to switch to high fluoride toothpaste for a time. While I have a prescription for it, most dentists’ offices do carry it.

And please consult your physician or dentist before trying any of my unsolicited advice. 😊

Infographic Credit: Jefferson Dental

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