Dental Care Tips for Pregnant Women

Posted on: 3 July 2017

When you're pregnant, it's easy to put your dental health on the back burner. You have a new one on the way, and it seems like getting ready for their arrival takes precedence over everything. You also may have heard some myths about the safety of certain dental procedures. But neglecting your teeth and gums when pregnant can not only harm your oral health, but also it could affect your baby's health, too. Here are some simple tips for taking care of those pearly whites and avoiding common dental issues that can arise when you're expecting.

Don't Believe the Myths

Some people are under the false impression that a trip to the dentist is dangerous when you're pregnant. Exposure to x-rays and other procedures could be harmful to a growing fetus, right?

Actually, that's not entirely true, but it really depends on what you're having done. Most dental x-rays don't emit enough radiation to harm a growing fetus, particularly if you're properly shielded. And regular cleanings are perfectly safe. However, many dentists won't take routine x-rays at all if you're pregnant. They might also recommend certain cosmetic procedures, like teeth whitening or anything that necessitates the use of Lidocaine or general anesthesia, should wait until after the baby is born since some of the drugs used can cross the placental barrier.

Another common myth is if you don't get enough calcium while you're pregnant, the baby will take what it needs from your bones and teeth. While needed calcium can come from the mother's bones if she doesn't get enough in her diet, your teeth are not at risk for losing this mineral. However, you should be sure to get at least 1,300 mg of calcium per day, especially during the last trimester.

Know Your Dental Risks

Women who are pregnant are at a greater risk of developing gum disease due to the increased levels of hormones circulating through their system. Progesterone is one such hormone, and it tends to increase the acid levels in the mouth. As a result, gingivitis can develop. If your gums bleed easily or appear red and swollen, you may have gingivitis.

If left unaddressed, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, which is a more serious form of gum disease that typically includes infection and can lead to bone loss in the jaw.

If you suffer with morning sickness, frequent vomiting can cause tooth decay as the acids eat away at the enamel on the teeth.

And lastly, all that increased acid gets ingested and can go to your baby, leading to low birth weight.

So, what can you do to prevent the associated issues? Start with brushing twice a day as well as flossing, just like you were doing before you got pregnant. Drink plenty of water, and eat candies that are sweetened with Xylitol. These will both help neutralize the acids and cut down on the growth of harmful bacteria. Also, be sure to brush right after getting sick to get rid of any excess acid. And ask your dentist about rinses that can lower the pH in your mouth, or rinse with a mixture of 1 tsp baking soda to 1 cup of water.

See Your Dentist Early in Your Pregnancy

It's important to see your dentist early during your pregnancy so you can both discuss the best ways to combat gingivitis and periodontitis. But given the fact that lying on your back for more than just a stretch can be uncomfortable when you're in your third trimester, it's good to get a cleaning in by the second trimester.

Eat the Right Foods

Since you're at a greater risk of tooth and gum disease when you're pregnant, choose foods that can help combat gingivitis and the growth of bacteria. This includes yogurt and kefir; cheese; raw vegetables and fruits such as apples, celery, carrots, cucumbers, berries, and melons; and sugar and caffeine-free tea. The bonus is that many of these foods are chock full of vitamins and minerals that are important to the health of your baby. 

For more information, contact a business such as Centre Family Dentistry.


Implants, Veneers and Bridges, Oh My!

If you are anything like me, you have no idea what many of the dental procedures that can correct an imperfect smile are. I had no idea what the implants, veneers and bridges that my dentist was talking about were. He had told me that I could renew my smile with a combination of these treatments and I did not effectively understand his explanations. I have gathered many facts about these dental procedures now to help others in the same situation make the decision to go through with receiving the dental treatment they need for a strong, healthy, beautiful smile.

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