Why is dental care during pregnancy important?
When you are pregnant, there will be many different health care professionals to visit. You will be seeing your gynecologist, general practitioner, and others. However, it is important that you remember to visit the dentist. While oral health is always important, it is more so during pregnancy. Being pregnant puts you at greater risk for dental problems. Also, your oral health and diet can affect your baby. Gum disease has been linked to pre-term birth.
What are some tips for seeing the dentist?
Visiting the dentist can prevent and/or treat dental problems. Be sure to tell the dentist how far along in the pregnancy that you are. Let him or her know what medicines you are taking. There is no risk in getting a routine cleaning and dental exam while you are pregnant. It is a good idea to do this, as well as to visit the dentist every six months.
If you need to have additional dental work done, the second trimester is the best time. Talk to your dentist about pain medication, local anesthesia, and/or X-rays, if needed. It is best to delay elective treatments, such as cosmetic procedures, until after the baby is delivered.
What oral health issues can arise during pregnancy?
Your hormones are changing during pregnancy, and this may cause swelling in your gums. If gums become swollen, food can get trapped. When this occurs, the gums can become prone to infection or gum disease, including gingivitis. In extreme cases, gingivitis can result in tooth loss. Also, morning sickness can be hard on a pregnant woman’s teeth. Acid from the stomach can eat away at tooth enamel.
To help protect teeth, add a teaspoon of baking soda to a glass of water and rinse your mouth with the mixture. If morning sickness makes it hard to brush your teeth, ask your dentist about a bland-tasting toothpaste.
How can I get and keep healthy teeth and gums?
Brushing twice a day, using fluoridated toothpaste, and flossing daily will help keep your mouth healthy. Rinse out your mouth with a fluoridated, non-alcoholic mouth rinse. Remember to get plenty of vitamins and minerals in your diet, especially vitamins A, C, and D, protein, calcium, and phosphorous.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Your baby’s first teeth begin to develop about three months into your pregnancy. Healthy diets containing dairy products, cheese, and yogurt are good sources of these essential minerals and are good for your baby’s developing teeth, gums, and bones.