Dental care during pregnancy is essential to the well-being of both the mother and baby. Pregnancy brings happiness, fulfills dreams and brings new hope to an expectant mother…and it brings many changes to your body. Hormone fluctuations cause varied moods, and they also affect your teeth and gums and increase the risk of periodontal disease. Taking care of your dental health during pregnancy falls into line with all the other aspects of your health while pregnant. Click on this link to learn about oral health and pregnancy.
See Your Dentist Before Pregnancy
Scheduling a dental appointment with Dr. Ashley Niles at (720) 744-0001 is an important first step if you’re planning to have a baby. She can assess your current oral condition and provide an evaluation of your gum tissue provides a baseline for maintaining your oral health. During this pre-pregnancy check-up any oral health problems can ideally be treated, along with a professional cleaning in advance of the pregnancy.
Dental Care During Pregnancy
According to the American Dental Association, every pregnant woman should be seen by their dentist during pregnancy. Schedule a routine dental check-up and let Niles Family Dentistry know how far along you are when you call for an appointment. It may be more uncomfortable to sit in a dental chair later in your pregnancy, so schedule a check-up in your second trimester. If you need an emergency procedure, work with Dr. Niles on the best plan for the health of you and your baby.
Only 22 to 34 percent of women in the United States consult a dentist during pregnancy. Even when an oral problem occurs, only half of pregnant women take care of it. Research suggests that some prenatal oral conditions may have negative consequences for the baby. Periodontitis is associated with preterm birth and low birth weight. Excess bacteria can enter the bloodstream through your gums and travel to the uterus, triggering the production of chemicals called prostaglandins, which are suspected to induce premature labor.
- Dental procedures such as x-rays, periodontal treatment, restorations, and extractions are safe during the second trimester.
- Preventive dental cleanings and annual exams during pregnancy are not only safe, they are recommended. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists agree that procedures like cavity fillings and crowns are safe and important to have during pregnancy to prevent potential infection of the fetus.
Hormonal Changes Affect More than Your Mood
Hormones are behind the reason you crave pickles and ice cream. Hormones also play a part in making your gums swell while pregnant, leading to a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. If you notice that your gums are tender and bleeding more frequently during pregnancy, the American Pregnancy Association recommends being proactive about it. Dr. Niles might recommend more frequent professional and checkups until your baby is born.
Some women also develop what is called “pregnancy tumors” due to hormonal changes while pregnant. Don’t let the name scare you; pregnancy tumors aren’t malignant. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the growths most often appear during the second trimester, and look like little raspberries that form between the teeth. Dr. Niles can remove them if they cause you discomfort, but in most cases, the tumors will go away after your baby is born.
Morning Sickness and Your Teeth
Morning sickness (nausea and vomiting), is a very common condition and an unpleasant part of pregnancy for many women. Although it is called “morning sickness,” it can happen at any time of the day. It’s not only unpleasant, it raises concerns regarding your oral health. Acid from your stomach can be strong enough to eat away at your teeth and increase the risk of tooth decay by dissolving tooth enamel, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). If you suffer from heartburn or acid reflux later in your pregnancy, the gastric acid can have the same effect on your teeth.
- Although you may be tempted to brush your teeth immediately after a bout of morning sickness, the best thing you can do to protect your enamel is swish with baking soda and water afterward. Baking soda will help neutralize the acid from your stomach. Mix a teaspoon of it into a cup of water, then use the mixture to rinse out your mouth before brushing.
- It goes without saying that maintaining good oral hygiene practices can prevent and/or reduce oral health problems. Maintain good brushing and flossing habits because you’re slightly more at risk for cavities. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to reduce the chance of irritating your gums, and fluoride toothpaste to help prevent plaque, tartar build-up and gingivitis. Be sure to floss at least once a day; swollen gums make it easier for bits of food to get stuck in hard-to-reach places.
Basic tips for maintaining a healthy mouth during pregnancy:
- Brush thoroughly with fluoride toothpaste twice a day.
- Floss between your teeth daily.
- Visit Dr. Niles regularly for a professional cleaning and check-up.
- If you need help controlling plaque rinse your teeth with an antibacterial mouthwash.
- Drink plenty of water with fluoride to keep your teeth strong.
- Eat a balanced diet. If you snack, do so in moderation and avoid sugary snacks. Your baby’s teeth begin to develop between the third and sixth months of pregnancy, and eating well can help them form properly. Get plenty of nutrients – including vitamins A, C, and D, protein, calcium and phosphorous for the health of your baby’s teeth.
If you are pregnant, your oral health needs more attention during this special phase of your life. Call Niles Family Dentistry today to make an appointment at (720) 744-0001. Located in Niwot, Niles Family Dentistry serves families in Niwot, along with the Longmont & Boulder communities, and will be there to help with your oral health needs as you welcome your bundle of joy!