Whether you are already pregnant or are hoping to have a baby in the near future, you’ve probably learned that it’s easy for moms-to-be to be overwhelmed by a gigantic tidal wave of information and advice. Do this. Don’t do that. Make sure to get enough of this while meticulously avoiding that. Every decision that you make can seem fraught with the potential to either help or harm your pregnancy. What about dental care during pregnancy? A healthy mouth is important for everyone, so it makes sense that expectant mothers should be mindful of their oral health. Fortunately, your dentist can help you get the quality prenatal dental care that you require.
Dental Care During Pregnancy
Did you know that gum disease has been linked to premature and underweight births? Were you aware that an untreated infection in your mouth could reach your bloodstream and endanger both your overall health and your pregnancy? Clearly, getting quality dental care during pregnancy matters. Being proactive about your oral health is a simple way to help safeguard your pregnancy and increase the odds that your child will get a healthy start in life.
If you are planning to get pregnant in the near future, get a full dental checkup first. This allows your dentist to evaluate your existing oral health situation, point out possible problems, and perform any necessary treatments before a pregnancy is a consideration.
What about your regular checkup? Don’t skip it because you’re pregnant. Instead, try to schedule it sometime between the fourth and sixth month of your pregnancy. To protect the developing child, certain procedures and medications are avoided during the first trimester, and sitting through an exam can be difficult in the last trimester, so scheduling your checkup in the second trimester is generally your best bet.
Dental emergencies often happen at inopportune times. If you encounter a dental emergency while you are pregnant or believe that there’s a chance that you might be, contact your dentist immediately. Before you set foot in the office, notify the dentist’s office that you’re pregnant. Don’t hesitate to remind the staff when you arrive.
Common procedures and tools like X-rays, dental anesthetics, pain medications, and antibiotics are not used during the first trimester, so your dentist needs to know about any potential or confirmed pregnancy. This information allows your dentist to treat your dental emergency in a manner that is safe for you and your child. In fact, your dentist might consult with your obstetrician before proceeding with treatment.
Pregnancy causes all sorts of changes in a woman’s body, and some of the changes have a direct impact on the mouth and oral health. Thankfully, there are several easy strategies that you can adopt to keep your mouth healthy during your pregnancy. To safeguard your healthy smile, be sure to do the following:
- Practice a good oral hygiene routine. Be sure to brush your teeth properly at least twice a day and floss once a day.
- Protect your teeth and gums by eating a balanced diet that emphasizes healthier fare like fresh fruits and vegetables. Limit sugary treats.
- Drink plenty of water. Dry mouth is common during pregnancy, and it can increase a mother-to-be’s risk of infection and tooth decay. Staying hydrated can help to counteract this dryness. Chewing sugarless gum is another option to promote moisture in the mouth.
- Rinse your mouth frequently if morning sickness is a problem. A common problem that many expectant mothers struggle with, morning sickness is widely known to cause nausea and vomiting. It can also cause extra acid in the mouth, which can damage teeth. Rinsing with water can help to wash away the extra acid, and adding a fluoride mouthwash to your routine can help to mitigate the effects of the acid.
- Be aware that pregnancy hormones can make you more susceptible to gingivitis, a gum disease that results when the buildup of plaque on the teeth irritates the gums. Symptoms of gingivitis include redness, inflammation, and bleeding from the gums, especially when brushing or flossing. To combat gingivitis, make keeping your teeth clean along the gum-line a priority. If necessary, your dentist can also recommend gum stimulants or rinses that reduce plaque.
- Do not exceed the dosage of any medication that your dentist prescribes, including over-the-counter or topical medications. Follow instructions carefully and ask questions if you are uncertain about anything.
- If you have a concern about your oral health, contact your dentist promptly.
Being vigilant about your oral health throughout your pregnancy benefits you and your baby, so it’s smart to consider your dentist a valuable member of your health care team. If you are interested in learning more about dental care during pregnancy or would like to schedule a consultation, contact Duff Family Dental if you live in or near Springfield, Missouri.