Dental Care and Pregnancy

Dental Care and Pregnancy

by Alex Hirsch (SU)

When you’re pregnant, you can expect every week to be filled with an appointment of some kind.  Whether it’s with your obstetrician, dietician or even midwife, the focus remains on your best health and that of your baby. So, mother-to-be, when is your next dentist appointment? Believe it or not, when you’re pregnant, dental care should be one of your highest priorities of your pre-natal health regime. When it comes to pregnancy, here is what you can expect with regard to dental care.

Pregnancy and your Oral Health

Bottom line:  poor dental habits have been tied to premature births, intrauterine growth, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia. During your second trimester, you might notice red roundish bumps on your gums that bleed easily; these are known as pregnancy tumors and are related to plaque build-up. Morning sickness or excessive vomiting can cause tooth enamel erosion from the presence of stomach acids on teeth. Additionally, changing hormone levels associated with pregnancy can cause a woman’s gums to swell; this can lead to food more easily getting trapped and can lead to increased irritation of the gums. This condition, known as pregnancy gingivitis, can cause gums to bleed, recede, and can even cause teeth to become loose.

Craving and Eating for Two

Eating for two and satisfying cravings may result in eating more than you usually would before you got pregnant; some of that food may be loaded with starch, sugars, or acids that can wear down the enamel on your teeth. As much good as zucchini and broccoli are for you and baby, chances are your cravings are much more sophisticated than that. As you now find yourself eating for two (or more!), it’s best to focus on a healthy diet, as well as brushing and flossing more often. Pre-natal vitamins may be prescribed to accommodate for any nutrition you may be missing in your normal diet.

Dental Care at Home

Maintaining your smile is imperative, especially if you are pregnant. Be sure to avoid highly sugary or acidic foods. Brush and floss often; if you don’t enjoy flossing consider using a hydroflosser. To avoid vomiting, keep saltines and water with you at all times. Vomiting can wreak havoc on your teeth and gums – while the temptation is there to brush immediately after vomiting, that can only do more damage. Instead, rinse your mouth out with water. If you can, dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda into 1 cup of water, then rinse with and spit out the acid to neutralize the acid.

Visiting Your Dentist

Fillings and cleanings are absolutely safe during your pregnancy. Root canals and other emergency procedures should not be put off; your dentist will ensure you and your baby are safe throughout the procedures as well as with follow-on care. If X-rays are required, your dentist and his staff will take proper precautions to ensure no harm. Remember, when visiting your dentist, be sure to advise that you are (or might be) pregnant, and how far along you are if known. Also, try to avoid extra, non-essential work like tooth whitening that can easily wait until after the baby is delivered.

Don’t Avoid the Dentist

Just by being pregnant, your risk of additional dental issues can increase. That said, avoiding the dentist while pregnant can do more harm than good. Not are good dental care – including visits to your dentist – vital to keeping your smile bright, it can help prevent periodontal disease that has been known to lead to premature births. If you live in the Twin Cities area and are seeking the best possible dental care, look no further than Hagerman Dental. At Hagerman Dental, we put you and your family’s health first and pride ourselves on being your dental partner for life. Call us for an appointment at (6551) 646-2392 or request an appointment online today!