Whether you are planning on a child in the future or are already expecting your bundle of joy, you may or may not know all of the health considerations that go into managing a pregnancy. And yet, it’s more common than you might think to overlook oral health during pregnancy. That’s why 123 Dentist is here to help with a new guide to assist you in making smart choices over the coming 9 months.
The first thing to do when planning your pregnancy is to consult with your family doctor and your dentist. This way you can find out from experts what you need to prepare for in advance, such as finishing up any procedures involving sedation or surgery before trying to conceive.
Dental Appointments While Pregnant
When you become pregnant, routine dental care like hygiene cleanings and fillings are still possible, however most dentists will advise against any non-emergency or cosmetic procedures while you are expecting. For this reason it is extra important to complete any outstanding fillings before you become pregnant, especially if the work involves sedation or other medication. X-rays are best avoided as well, though with digital x-ray advancements your hygienist can take pictures carefully in a pinch.
If you have concerns about your dental health after your pregnancy, you should make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible to get their advice. You should also remember to tell your dentist the exact names and dosages of any vitamins or medications you are taking for your pregnancy.
Everyday Dental Care
Brushing your teeth for a few minutes after every meal is very important, especially while pregnant. Limiting the spread of plaque and other bacteria will make your baby safer and keep your teeth and gums healthy. Don’t forget to floss once every day, even if it’s with a flossing aid. See below for more information on gum disease and how changes in your body chemistry will affect your day to day dental care.
Acid Reflux, Morning Sickness and Tooth Erosion
One unflattering and unfortunate side effect of many pregnancies is morning sickness and acid reflux. If you’re one of the majority of expecting mothers to experience an upset stomach and vomiting, you need to know how to take care of your teeth. Your smile is at risk because of erosion caused by stomach acid wearing away your tooth enamel. Most mothers want to brush their teeth after vomiting but this is not advisable. Acid has already weakened the enamel on your teeth, and brushing will cause irreversible damage. Instead, you should use some warm water with baking soda or a non-alcoholic mouth rinse. This will remove the taste and clean your mouth before you brush. Finally, keeping bacteria in your mouth to a minimum decreases the chances of passing on decay causing bacteria to your new baby.
Gum Disease While Pregnant
Pregnancy means a lot of changes to your body, some more noticeable than others. Increased gum sensitivity can be one of those changes. The hormone progesterone causes softness and increases blood flow to the gums, making bleeding more likely during flossing and brushing. This is normal, along with an increase in plaque buildup and makes regular dental care even more important. If you don’t take care of your teeth and gums properly, it could lead to gingivitis or gum disease. Periodontitis is a more serious form of infection that can progress to your jaw and could even lead to premature labour.
Your Diet While Pregnant
Avoiding sugar while pregnant is one of the hardest things to do because of strong cravings. It’s tempting to indulge when you’re experiencing changes to your body and are trying to curb other bad habits, but it’s crucial to limit your sugary snacks. Not only are they lacking in nutrition you and your baby need, but they still damage your teeth as much as ever. Stick to calcium rich, natural snacks, grains and lean meats. If you are experiencing a craving, try to analyze it and break down the tastes and textures you really want, and find a natural substitution.
Smoking, Drinking & Other Bad Habits
It probably goes without saying that you don’t want to smoke or drink while pregnant. It bears repeating here for the same reasons that you don’t want to hurt your child or pass on addictions to them. Drinking red wine or coffee, smoking and even habits like chewing your nails or lips are damaging to your teeth. They all add risk of preventable bacterial infection in your already-vulnerable mouth, not to mention increasing the likelihood of stains and damage.
Once you’ve recovered from delivery and brought the baby home, it is a good idea to schedule a dentist appointment and cleaning to make up for the nearly three quarters of a year you missed. The hygienist will clean your teeth professionally with extra care since your gums will still be sensitive, and the dentist will check for any new cavities or other dental issues. One year after giving birth, it will be time to visit again with your newborn for their first appointment. This first trip is only a consultation, but it will help your little one adjust to the idea of the dentist and can provide you with some tips for taking care of his or her gums and first baby teeth.
If you have questions about dental care before, during or after pregnancy, you can call our 24/7 emergency care line, and you can speak to a real dentist to set up an appointment at a dental office that is convenient for you. Managing your dental care while you are pregnant is not difficult if you plan out your schedule and stick to a routine. Talk to your dentist if you need help and ask for support from your family. Most of all, enjoy your pregnancy and the birth of your child, and welcome to parenthood in advance!