Keeping Teeth Healthy During Pregnancy
One of the keys to health is having healthy gums and teeth. But this statement of fact takes on a special perspective when a woman becomes pregnant.
For women that deal with the acidic back-up that can accompany morning sickness, swishing with mouth rinse or a little baking soda and water will help prevent that acid from settling on teeth and gums.
Many women don’t factor in the impact carrying a child for nine months can have on dental health, but consulting with your dentist when planning pregnancy is as important for your overall health as any other consideration when family planning.
Pregnancy can disrupt dental health if you already suffer from dental decay, gingivitis or are dealing with a broken or cracked tooth. Seeing your dental provider for a professional cleaning and exam twice per year and following an excellent oral hygiene program could prevent having to deal with dental problems during pregnancy. But there are no guarantees as even the most vigilant patient can break a tooth or be faced with an unexpected dental issue while pregnant.
Facts that are important to remember include:
- If visiting your dentist, inform the staff that you are pregnant. Avoiding dental x-rays, particularly during your first trimester, is best. A dental emergency might mandate a dental radiograph be taken, but extra care will be taken when the staff is aware of your pregnancy.
- Brush using a soft bristle tooth brush and a fluoridated tooth paste or gel at least twice per day.
- Floss daily.
- Morning sickness is unpleasant. For women that deal with the acidic back-up that can accompany morning sickness, swishing with a mouth rinse or a little baking soda and water will help prevent that acid from settling on teeth and gums. Avoid brushing right away as the acid in the mouth can harm dental enamel.
- A nutritious diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables will help provide the nutrients needed to maintain healthy teeth.
One of the side effects many women face while pregnant is swollen or bleeding gums. Some women even report loosening of teeth while pregnant. This is a direct result of hormonal changes in the body chemistry. Seeing your dentist if you develop the symptoms of gingivitis or periodontal disease is critical. The incidence of low birth weight babies is prevalent in women suffering from periodontal disease.
Understanding the importance of maintaining excellent dental health as part of family planning will keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible before you conceive and throughout your pregnancy.
For more information on how to care for your oral health during pregnancy, contact the Dallas office of Drs. Melisa Christian and Andrea Keith at 214-522-4330 to schedule a consultation.