Healthy Teeth Tricks for Moms-to-Be
Manage Your Morning Sickness
Vomiting and gastric reflux bring acids from the stomach up into the mouth. These acids can erode tooth enamel, making your teeth more susceptible to cavities and chips as well as more sensitive to extreme temperatures, particularly cold (ice cream, ouch!). After a gastric episode, neutralize the acids by rinsing your mouth thoroughly with water mixed with a teaspoon of baking soda; then brush with a toothpaste that has fluoride. "If you're suffering from frequent bouts of morning sickness you may be a candidate for a prescription toothpaste with extra fluoride," Dr. Cook says. Talk with your dentist to see if you should consider trying a new formula.
Keep Your Toothbrush Handy
If you're eating more frequently to stave off nausea or because your increasingly squashed stomach gets full fast, it makes sense to brush more too. Try to do so after every meal or snack, especially if you consume carbs. Carbohydrates -- even healthy ones such as fruit and nonfat milk -- break down into sugars that sit on your teeth. If you can't brush, rinse your mouth with H20. In general, "make sure you're drinking plenty of water," Dr. Rose says. Think of it as a tide rolling in and sweeping the bacteria away.
Sugarless packs that contain xylitol, a compound extracted from birch trees, have been shown to reduce cavities. Pop a piece four or five times a day, after meals and snacks, to get the benefit. Artificial sweeteners in moderate amounts, like those in these gums, are safe for moms-to-be, says Sheila Chhutani, M.D., an OB in Dallas.
Originally published in the July 2011 issue of American Baby magazine.
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