Most women don’t think too much about dental health during their pregnancy, there are other issues on their minds. Your body is experiencing major changes and you probably have mood swings and appetite cravings beyond your control. It’s important not to forget about dental hygiene to avoid future problems with your teeth and gums.
Pregnancy Myths about Dental Health
Many pregnant women are told, or hear from friends and family, that some dental procedures such as X-rays and other oral care are not safe for pregnant women. You might hear that these procedures could harm your baby and therefore you should avoid your normal dental checkups. That’s all a myth, per studies done by the National Institute of Health there is no harm to your baby.
If you are planning to become pregnant, and while you are pregnant it’s important to continue your normal dental checkups. These checkups will help you maintain healthy teeth and gums during your pregnancy.
Most dental changes during pregnancy are caused from hormone changes to your body. It’s not true that calcium is sent to other parts of your body to help your growing baby. However, it is still necessary to increase your calcium during pregnancy particularly during the third trimester. Most doctors will suggest adding calcium supplements or changes to your diet to support your baby’s needs.
Gingivitis and Other Issues
Pregnant women commonly experience gingivitis. When you are pregnant, your body produces a higher level of hormone progesterone. The progesterone creates higher levels of acid in your mouth that can lead to gingivitis. The acid could pass to your baby and possibly add to the risk for premature birth or low birth weight.
See your dentist if you experience swollen gums, bleeding, or red gums, especially while brushing or flossing. These are symptoms that may lead to gingivitis and if not treated might even lead to more serious dental problems like periodontitis.
Your body may be producing more acid if you suffer from morning sickness and frequent vomiting. The acid produced may break down your tooth enamel which may increase the possibility of tooth decay. Of course, tooth decay can result in cavities or in some cases tooth loss.
Once your baby is born, your body is still at risk, especially if you are breastfeeding your newborn. It’s important to drink plenty of liquids to stay hydrated and continue a good oral care routine of flossing and brushing.
Be sure your diet includes plenty of calcium and vitamin D, especially when breastfeeding your baby. As your baby grows, a nursing mother may lose up to 5% of their bone mass. That, of course, can lead to other oral diseases which can affect bone structure and gum damage.
Reports from the American Dental Association suggest that mothers who suffer from neck and facial tension from breastfeeding may also experience an increase in teeth grinding.
Continue Your Dental Routine
It’s important to continue your daily oral hygiene routine during and after your pregnancy to avoid future problems. Brush your teeth twice daily and floss at least once a day. Consider adding a bacteria-killing mouthwash to your daily routine, especially between meals if it’s unreasonable to brush your teeth.
Remember to drink plenty of liquids to avoid dehydration and avoid dry mouth. You’ll probably have cravings for sweets during your pregnancy, just try to brush your teeth after eating these to prevent acid buildup.
As mentioned above, normal dental care such as cleaning, cavity fillings or X-rays are considered safe during pregnancy. Don’t delay your normal dentist appointments as they are just as important while you are pregnant.
As your body changes throughout pregnancy, your hormones may get out of control and you sometimes feel a bit crazy. Be sure to take time for yourself, not only your oral health, but your whole self so you will be more prepared when your wonderful addition arrives.
Always discuss your concerns with your dentist. Follow his or her advice to achieve the results for a bright, happy, and healthy smile.
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About Tri-State Family Dentistry
Tri-State Family Dentistry is dedicated to providing the highest quality dental care possible. Being privately owned since 2009, we don’t experience the corporate pressure that other dental practices have to hit certain revenue numbers. You will never be ‘sold’ dentistry at Tri-State Family Dentistry. After we explain your treatment options, you can make your own decisions.