When you’re pregnant, there are so many new things going on that it’s easy to put dental checkups on the back burner. After all, it’s only nine months, and then you can get back to your normal routine, right? While many women may make out just fine by skipping dental checkups during pregnancy, regular dental care is important for everyone, especially when you’re pregnant. Keep reading to learn why dental care during pregnancy is so important.
The Importance Of Dental Care During Pregnancy
It’s important to keep up with dental care during pregnancy for a number of reasons. Hormonal changes can increase the risk of dental problems. For example, a common issue that affects many pregnant women is the craving for sweet treats that can have a negative effect on the teeth. Another common pregnancy issue is morning sickness. If you suffer from serious nausea, the acid from vomiting can cause erosion which should be addressed by a dentist. It’s also important to note that a baby’s teeth start to develop around the third to sixth month of pregnancy, so it’s a good idea for pregnant mothers to monitor their eating habits in order to help support healthy teeth in their baby.
Combatting Periodontal Disease
Up to 75% of pregnant women end up with gingivitis, which is an early stage of periodontal disease. This occurs when your gums become red and inflamed, which can be aggravated by hormonal changes during pregnancy. This is another reason why pregnant women should visit the dentist, because if gingivitis isn’t treated, bone loss can occur, and gums can become infected. If your teeth don’t have the proper bone support, they can become loose and may need to be extracted. Periodontal disease has also been connected to preterm births and low birth weight, which is yet another reason not to skip dental checkups during pregnancy.
Keeping Cavities Under Control During Pregnancy
There are some interesting facts and statistics about cavities during pregnancy that every expectant mother should keep in mind. One out of every four women of childbearing age have untreated cavities, and children of mothers with tooth loss or untreated cavities are more likely to have cavities as a child. Additionally, women with a high number of cavity-causing bacteria during pregnancy and after delivery can potentially transmit these bacteria from their mouth to the mouth of their baby. To help avoid all of this from happening, make a point of visiting your dentist early in your pregnancy to take care of any untreated cavities you may have.
What About Dental X-Rays During Pregnancy?
In the past, pregnant women would be advised to stay away from any type of X-ray, but this is not the case with modern digital radiography. Radiation concerns are virtually negligible, and if it’s important that you get a diagnosis of dental disease during your pregnancy, there will be very little risk to your developing child. But you may end up with pain and infection if you don’t have them, and they are necessary. Just make a point of informing your dentist that you’re pregnant before you have any dental x-rays, so they can take extra precautions to shield your abdomen and pelvis from exposure.
Oral Health Tips During Pregnancy
Keeping up with your dental checkups during pregnancy is a good idea to manage any dental issues before they become serious, but there are also many other things you can do to help protect your oral health. It’s all about being proactive and understanding the importance of dental health during pregnancy. Here are some valuable tips that can help keep your oral health in check throughout your entire pregnancy.
For morning sickness
If you suffer from morning sickness, your risk of tooth decay and erosion will increase. However, if you’re aware and take the necessary precautions, you shouldn’t suffer any ill effects. If you vomit from morning sickness, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water or a fluoride mouthwash immediately afterward. After you rinse your mouth, wait for about 30 minutes and then brush your teeth.
Practice good oral hygiene
Keeping up with a good oral hygiene routine will help keep your teeth and gums in good shape during your pregnancy. Make sure to brush your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste twice a day and replace your toothbrush every few months or when you notice the bristles are fraying. It’s also important to floss on a daily basis and never share your toothbrush with anyone.
Boosting nutrient intake during pregnancy will do wonders for both your oral health and your overall health. It’s a good idea to limit your consumption of foods and beverages that are high in added sugars, including soft and sticky snacks that many pregnant women tend to crave. Instead, do your best to stick to healthier foods and snacks that contain the nutrients needed to benefit your oral health. It’s also important to remember that pregnant women have different nutritional needs, so taking a daily multivitamin that includes folic acid and iron can make a big difference.
Add more calcium
Both you and your baby need calcium for strong bones and teeth, and if your diet is low in calcium, your body will end up taking it from your own bones to make up the difference. If you have low calcium in your bloodstream, you’ll also have low calcium in your saliva, which is important for remineralizing your tooth enamel if it’s been damaged by acids. Dairy products and green leafy vegetables are higher in calcium, and you can also take a calcium supplement if necessary to ensure you have enough.
If you follow these tips and continue with your regular dental checkups during pregnancy, you should have no issues with your dental health. The key is to remember that oral health is a crucial component of a healthy pregnancy and it’s important to stay on top of any potential issues before they become serious.