Good Oral Health Habits Before, During, and After Your Pregnancy
When you’re planning to become pregnant or suspect that you already are, one of the first things you do is make a doctor’s appointment, right? Of course. Your doctor can help you optimize your health and, in turn, that of your baby.
But did you know you should make an appointment with your dentist, too?
Believe it or not, your oral health plays a major role in your overall health, and during pregnancy, you have a higher risk for gum disease. The surge in hormones can cause your gums to react more sensitively to plaque, and if the plaque is not removed, it can lead to gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis becomes periodontitis, a more serious gum disease, and the excessive bacteria in your bloodstream can affect the health of your baby. Research points to links between gingivitis and low-birthweight babies.
If you maintain good oral health before, during, and after your pregnancy, however, the likelihood of these conditions decreases dramatically. Here’s what you need to know:
When you are planning your pregnancy, visit your dentist for a checkup and cleaning. Be sure to let your dentist know you are trying to get pregnant. Give yourself time to address pre-existing oral health problems and receive necessary treatments prior to getting pregnant.
Follow good oral hygiene practices of brushing twice a day. Be sure to floss thoroughly every day as well.
If your toothpaste exacerbates your morning sickness, switch to a bland toothpaste. Your dentist can make recommendations.
If morning sickness causes you to vomit frequently, be sure to rinse your mouth regularly with water or a dentist recommended mouth rinse. Otherwise, the acids from your stomach can dissolve your tooth enamel.
Pay special attention to changes in your gums. Alert your dentist if you notice:
You can visit your dentist for a checkup and cleaning, but it’s best to avoid dental treatments during:
Your first trimester
The second half of your third trimester.
Be sure to inform your dentist that you are pregnant as well as what medications and vitamins you are taking. The more informed your dentist is, the better equipped he/she can be in determining your dental treatment plan.
Avoid x-rays if possible. In the case of emergencies, your dentist will use extreme caution to best protect you and your baby.
Postpone elective procedures until after you’ve had your baby.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Dairy products including cheese, milk, and yogurt are great for the development of your baby’s teeth and bones.
Visit your dentist for a checkup, and address any oral health problems that may have developed during your pregnancy. Continue to follow good oral hygiene practices and schedule regular visits to your dentist.
At Soft Touch Dental, we are here to answer any questions or discuss any concerns you may have about maintaining your oral health before, during, or after your pregnancy. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.