Bringing a new baby into the world is an incredible, life-changing experience that comes with many new experiences and challenges. With the many changes pregnancy brings, it’s more important than ever to prioritize one’s health.
Many people fail to prioritize dental care while pregnant, even though it’s an essential part of ensuring the well-being of both parent and child. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the importance of dental care during pregnancy and give tips to maintain healthy smiles during this challenging time.
What to Expect
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can have a significant impact on oral health. Increased levels of estrogen and progesterone can make gums more sensitive to plaque and lead to various issues like pregnancy gingivitis, which involves red, swollen, and bleeding gums. In addition, these changes in hormones can affect the way the body responds to bacteria, which potentially increases the risk of gum infections.
Maintaining Dental Health During Pregnancy
Because of the risks associated with pregnancy, it’s incredibly important to give extra attention to your dental health. There are many steps you can take to ensure your teeth and gums remain healthy throughout your pregnancy, both with the help of a dentist and at home.
Regular Dental Check-Ups
As soon as you learn you’re pregnant, it’s a good idea to schedule an exam with your dentist so they can give you advice about how to take care of yourself throughout the duration of your pregnancy. They can check for signs of gingivitis, cavities, and gum disease and prevent any issues from escalating.
If you’re pregnant, it’s more important than ever to maintain good oral hygiene habits. Experts recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, plus flossing.
Gentle Brushing and Flossing
Due to increased gum sensitivity during pregnancy, you may find your gums become irritated more easily than usual. Be extra gentle when brushing and flossing to avoid irritation, which can exacerbate issues like pregnancy gingivitis.
Believe it or not, a balanced diet has a big impact on oral health. Eating foods like leafy greens and dairy products that are rich in vitamins and minerals such as calcium and vitamin D helps maintain healthy teeth and bones. Additionally, it’s a good idea to limit the amount of high-sugar foods you eat, since sugar can potentially lead to additional oral health issues.
A baby’s teeth start developing in the womb between the third and sixth months of pregnancy. Eating a balanced diet while pregnant can help your baby’s teeth develop correctly and prevent dental problems for them in the future.
Acids in the mouth are formed when bacteria feed on carbohydrates and sugars on the surface of the teeth. These acids cause all kinds of issues, including cavities. To neutralize acids, drink lots of water, especially if you’re experiencing increased thirst due to pregnancy.
If you experience morning sickness during your pregnancy, make sure you rinse your mouth out with water or an antibacterial mouthwash after vomiting. Stomach acids in vomit can erode tooth enamel, so it’s important to protect your teeth by reducing their exposure to acids.
There are additional special considerations when it comes to receiving medical and dental care during pregnancy to ensure the health of you and your baby.
X-rays are safe, and the risk they pose to unborn babies is small, but out of an abundance of caution, experts recommend avoiding X-rays while pregnant unless absolutely necessary. If you have an urgent dental issue during your pregnancy, work with your dentist to determine the right course of action.
Some non-essential dental treatments, such as teeth whitening, may need to be postponed until after the baby is born. Always discuss the potential risks of any procedure with your dentist in order to make the right decision for you and your baby.
Some medications to treat dental issues may not be suitable for pregnant patients. Consult with your dentist and obstetrician to evaluate whether medication is right for you or if you should opt for alternative treatment options instead.
Dental Care During Pregnancy from Eric Felt DDS
If you’re expecting a baby, you should also expect the best dental care possible. At the office of Dr. Eric Felt, we strive to provide the highest-quality care with efficiency, friendliness, honesty, and kindness. Let us be a part of your journey to bringing a happy, healthy baby into the world by scheduling an appointment today.