The importance of dental care during pregnancy shouldn't be underestimated by moms-to-be. The normal hormonal changes that take place in a woman's body can put her at increased risk for dental infections. Regular dental care should be kept up during this time.
The Importance of Dental Care During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, teeth and gums are even more sensitive to bacteria than at other times during a woman's life. In addition, pregnant women are more likely to develop dental complications; these need to be dealt with promptly.
Good Oral Hygiene
Practice good oral hygiene habits throughout your pregnancy, just as you do at other times.
- Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Eat a balanced diet with a variety of foods.
- Don't smoke.
Regular Dental Care
If you are planning to get pregnant, book an appointment to see your dentist before your conceive to have any necessary work done ahead of time. Having a checkup or getting your teeth professionally cleaned is considered safe during pregnancy, but if you are pregnant (or think you may be), let your dentist know. X-rays should be postponed if possible but, if they are needed, the dental office staff will provide a lead apron to protect the baby from exposure to radiation.
Many women experience nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. The term "morning sickness" can be a bit of a misnomer since this can occur at any time of the day. Some women find that eating a couple of dry crackers before getting up in the morning will keep the nausea at bay (eating potato chips may help, as well).
Do rinse your mouth with water or brush your teeth after vomiting to protect your teeth from stomach acid, which can damage your teeth (it will also make your mouth feel a lot fresher). Some women find that taste of their toothpaste makes them feel nauseous. If this is the case for you, ask your dentist to recommend a more bland-tasting toothpaste.
This common condition causes gums to become inflamed and puffy. A woman with pregnancy gingivitis may also see blood after brushing or flossing. Bacteria caught between the teeth and gums is the cause of pregnancy gingivitis. After a person eats, tiny bits of food attract the bacteria that causes it. Since elevated hormone levels (estrogen and progesterone) in a pregnant woman's body increase the flow of blood throughout the body, the likelihood of brushing and/or flossing triggering a bleeding episode also increases.
If appropriate and timely treatment is not obtained for gingivitis, it can progress to periodontal disease, which is also known as gum disease. Gum disease attacks the bones that hold a person's teeth in place. It can cause bleeding gums and tooth loss.Periodontal disease is of special concern to pregnant women because, if left untreated, it can lead to preterm labor or giving birth to a baby with a low birth-weight.
Use of Antibiotics During Pregnancy
In some situations, the dentist may want to prescribe antibiotics. A number of antibiotics are safe to use during pregnancy. If you have concerns about the medication prescribed for you, discuss them with your dentist, physician, or pharmacist. They should be able to put your mind at rest.The importance of dental care during pregnancy means that you shouldn't skip this part of your healthcare regimen. Be sure to see your dentist as you normally would.