When you’re pregnant, your calendar is filled with appointments to your obstetrician and other doctors, but have you scheduled an appointment with your dentist? When mothers-to-be think of prenatal care, usually their dentist is the one medical professional that is left off the list. If you are expecting, don’t let this be an oversight as it may affect not only your health but the health of your unborn child. Here is why dental care is especially important when you are pregnant.
Dental Care and Hormones
Many mothers to carry with them a misconception that going to the dentist in some way can affect the child she is carrying. In fact, the opposite is true. Maintaining good dental health during your pregnancy not only is safe for both of you, but it can also help keep you and your baby healthy. That’s because, during pregnancy, hormones can change the way your gums react to dental plaque, causing them to become irritated and inflamed. Since pregnancy can increase the number of bacteria present in your mouth, maintaining a regimen of brushing and flossing while pregnant is especially important.
Pregnant women are at a higher risk of developing periodontal disease, an infection in the mouth caused by bacteria. These bacteria use the sugars in the foods we eat to make acid, which can destroy the protective enamel on our teeth. Women who do develop the periodontal disease are at a higher risk of problems, such as premature labor or low birth weight. Periodontal disease usually begins with swollen or bleeding gums (gingivitis). During pregnancy, changes in hormone levels allow bacteria to grow in the mouth and gums more easily, leaving pregnant women more susceptible to gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Breakdown of Enamel
Pregnancy often causes morning sickness and vomiting, especially in the first trimester. The stomach acids from vomiting can wear away at tooth enamel. To neutralize the acid from breaking down enamel, dentists recommend rinsing your mouth after vomiting; then brushing your teeth to remove any residue from any residue. Dry mouth, which is also common during pregnancy, can put you at a greater risk for tooth decay and infections as well. To avoid this, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Chewing sugarless gum to enhance production of saliva can also help. Avoid sugary drinks like soda and fruit juices.
Your Dental Visit during Pregnancy
Your dentist has lots of experience working with a pregnant woman. Once you’ve informed your dentist and the staff that you are pregnant (and how far along you are), it’s important you disclose any medications you’re currently taking, including vitamins and supplements; as well as changes in your dental health since you’ve become pregnant.
Once this conversation has been noted, your dental team is free to perform routine dental work, however, unless it is an absolute medical necessity, it’s best to avoid certain procedures just to be safe. For example, routine x-rays should not be taken during pregnancy unless absolutely necessary. If you do require a procedure and follow-on medications such as antibiotics or pain relievers, your dentist will prescribe ones that are safe for you and your baby.
If you’re pregnant and live in the Las Vegas area, look no further than Dedicated Dental, the gentle and compassionate family dentist, for all your dental needs. Our friendly and helpful staff welcome your call and looks forward to serving you now, and your family once the baby is born. If you have any questions, or to schedule an appointment or consultation, please call (702) 566-5509. You can also request an appointment online.