Pregnancy is an exciting time for a mom-to-be, yet it can be stressful as well. While doctors and nurses are there to guide you through the process and answer questions about every little ache and twinge that you are experiencing at this time, have you considered adding the expertise of your dentist to your prenatal wellness plan?
Knowing the intimate connection our dental health has to our overall health, it becomes essential that we take proper care of our mouth, teeth, and gums at this formative time. Hormonal changes in mom’s body at this time can also exacerbate and exaggerate any dental issues that come up, some of which are extremely harmful to the baby. Here are some dental tips given by your dental professionals for prenatal dental care that is good for both mom and baby:
Tip #1: Have yourself screened for gingivitis.
Hormonal changes present in a woman’s body make the development of gingivitis more likely to occur. In fact, this tender gum condition is so prevalent in expectant mothers that doctors and dentists refer to it as “pregnancy gingivitis.” Symptoms can include swollen, red and tender gums, the sensation of loose teeth, receding or bleeding gums, and bad breath. If you find that your mouth is especially sensitive at this time, schedule an extra visit with your dental care professionals to see how they can help alleviate your symptoms.
Tip #2: Treat periodontal disease and decay immediately.
If gingivitis goes unchecked long enough, it develops into periodontal disease. This is a more severe breakdown of the tissues in the mouth, characterized by the following:
Bleeding and inflamed gums
Infection that produces pus along the gumline
If you see any of these symptoms cropping up, seek dental care immediately, as you are putting yourself and your precious baby at risk for more severe health consequences.
Tip #3: Watch for the development of pregnancy tumors.
Who knew that there was so much going on in your mouth? The growth of “pregnancy tumors” is actually quite common along the gumline, so watching for these irregular bumps and getting them treated promptly will ensure that you can chew, swallow, and talk comfortably throughout your pregnancy. Staying on top of changes that you see taking place will ensure that you protect your health in addition to the health of your baby.
Tip #4: Get regular x-rays to properly diagnose dental issues.
While the administration of x-rays to expectant mothers is generally not practiced, there are times when getting an x-ray so that a problem can be properly diagnosed are critical for good oral health. If you have any reservations about taking x-rays while pregnant, discuss it with your dental care professionals so they can determine the best course of action for you.
Tip #5: Ask questions before undergoing extensive dental work while pregnant.
Undergoing long and extensive dental procedures while pregnant is generally not recommended, due to the amount of physical and emotional stress that are placed on both mother and child. Longer dental procedures do require more chair time; putting mom in this position for any length of time places pressure on the major blood vessels that supply blood to the lower extremities. This circulatory stress places stress on the fetus as well; if it is possible to hold off any significant dental work until you deliver, this would be beneficial for you both.
Tip #6: Up your brushing frequency.
Two times daily isn’t enough for expectant mothers anymore; it is recommended that moms-to-be brush at least three times daily, possibly more, to improve and maintain dental health. Hormonal changes make the development of dental issues more likely, so keeping your mouth clean and free from bacteria is essential at this time.
Tip #7: Eat a diet that improves your oral health.
Eating a healthy diet consisting of foods rich in calcium, B12, and vitamin C will preserve and protect your oral health. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and organic dairy are excellent choices for keeping your mouth in tip-top shape for delivery and beyond.
Tip #8: Eliminate after effects of morning sickness.
Morning sickness and vomiting are an expected part of pregnancy; unfortunately, the excess stomach acid that shows up in your mouth after a period of sickness can wreak havoc on your teeth. Rinse your mouth with warm water or antibacterial rinse and brush with baking soda to get the acidic residue out of your mouth, and drink plenty of water when you start feeling better to neutralize any after effects. Protecting your tooth enamel at this time will set you up for better dental health in the future.
Staying in shape and caring for yourself throughout your pregnancy is of utmost importance. Good oral health plays a very important role in the creation of good overall health, and we are here to help you. Dr. Gordon E. Krueger, DDS, MS, PA pride themselves in bringing the best dental care, education, and restorative treatment to you, our valued patrons. Let us care for your beautiful smile. Visit https://www.gordonekruegerdds.com today to set up your first appointment. Better oral health is in your future!