DENTAL CARE AND PREGNANCY
Congratulations, you’re expecting a baby! It’s time to take special care of your body – and your smile. If you haven’t had a chance to visit your dentist before you got pregnant, go now. Dental cleanings and treatments are safe and encouraged for pregnant women.
It's important for you to take good care of your teeth and gums while pregnant. Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that increase the risk of developing gum disease which, in turn, can affect the health of your developing baby.
Before You Get Pregnant
Try to make a dental appointment before getting pregnant. That way, your teeth can be professionally cleaned, gum tissue can be carefully examined, and any oral health problems can be treated in advance of your pregnancy.
Dental disease can affect a developing baby
Research has found a link between gum disease in pregnant women and premature birth with low birth weight. Babies who are born prematurely may risk a range of health conditions including cerebral palsy and problems with eyesight and hearing. Estimates suggest that up to 18 out of every 100 premature births may be triggered by periodontal disease, which is a chronic infection of the gums. Appropriate dental treatment for the expectant mother may reduce the risk of premature birth.
Pre-pregnancy dental health
You are less likely to have dental problems during pregnancy if you already have good oral hygiene habits. Suggestions include:
Brush your teeth at least twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste.
Floss between your teeth.
Visit your dentist regularly.
If you are planning on getting pregnant, but you are also planning on having some elective dental procedures, see your dentist. It is more convenient to have elective procedures done before you conceive. If you require dental treatment during pregnancy, non-urgent procedures are often performed after the first trimester.
Dental Care While Pregnant
Tell our dentist (and doctor) if you are pregnant. Routine dental care can be done any time during pregnancy. Any urgent procedure can be done, as well. All elective dental procedures, however, should be postponed until after the delivery.
Tell our dentist the names and dosages of all drugs you are taking – including medications and prenatal vitamins prescribed by your doctor – as well as any specific medical advice your doctor has given you. Our dentist may need to alter your dental treatment plan based on this information.
Dental X-rays can be done during pregnancy. Our dentist will use extreme caution to safeguard you and your baby, such as shielding your abdomen and thyroid. Advances in technology have made X-rays much safer today than in past decades.
Don't skip your dental checkup appointment simply because you are pregnant. Now more than any other time, regular periodontal (gum) exams are very important, because pregnancy causes hormonal changes that put you at increased risk for periodontal disease and for tender gums that bleed easily – a condition called pregnancy gingivitis.
Follow good oral hygiene practices to prevent and/or reduce oral health problems.
Vomiting can damage teeth
Pregnancy hormones soften the ring of muscle that keeps food inside the stomach. Gastric reflux (regurgitating food or drink) or the vomiting associated with morning sickness can coat your teeth with strong stomach acids. Repeated reflux and vomiting can damage tooth enamel and increase the risk of decay.
Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after vomiting. While the teeth are covered in stomach acids, the vigorous action of the toothbrush may scratch the tooth enamel.
Rinse your mouth thoroughly with plain tap water.
Follow up with a fluoridated mouthwash.
If you don't have a fluoridated mouthwash, put a dab of fluoridated toothpaste on your finger and smear it over your teeth. Rinse thoroughly with water.
Brush your teeth at least an hour after vomiting.
Eating Right for Your Teeth and Baby
Avoid sugary snacks. Sweet cravings are common during pregnancy. However, keep in mind that the more frequently you snack, the greater the chance of developing tooth decay.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Your baby's first teeth begin to develop about three months into pregnancy. Healthy diets containing dairy products, cheese, and yogurt are a good source of these essential minerals and are good for baby's developing teeth, gums, and bones.
After You've Had Your Baby
If you experienced any gum problems during your pregnancy, see our dentist soon after delivery to have your entire mouth examined and periodontal health evaluated.
To keep a healthy smile during pregnancy, call us today on 9583 1654 or request an appointment online for an evaluation.
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