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Dental Care Tips and Pregnancy

Dental Care Tips during Pregnancy

With pregnancy comes a whole list of do's and don'ts, which can leave many expectant mothers at a loss when it comes dental care. Restorative dentistry treatments may be necessary during pregnancy to treat dental damage and prevent other issues. This may leave you wondering which dental treatments are safe for you and your baby's health? Should your daily dental routine change due to pregnancy? These questions, and countless others, may be of concern to pregnant women. Redwood dentist Jean E. Barthman offers this discussion on dental care during pregnancy to help you maintain a healthy smile.

Dental Care Tips and Pregnancy

Oral health can impact overall health, which is why maintaining a healthy smile is important at all times, especially during pregnancy. The hormonal changes experienced in pregnancy can increase the risk of developing gum disease. Gum disease is of particular concern during pregnancy because studies indicate that gum disease infections can spread through the bloodstream to other parts of the body, including the heart. Pregnant women with severe gum disease are more likely to give birth prematurely and deliver babies with low birth weights. Though more research is needed to determine the effects of gum disease on fetal health, it's best to keep your smile as healthy as possible during and after pregnancy. Follow these dental care tips during pregnancy to maintain proper oral health:

Foods to avoid with braces:

  • Let your dentist know you're pregnant: Be sure to let your dentist know you're pregnant so treatment plans can be modified and worked around your pregnancy.
  • Brush at least twice a day: Proper brushing habits are always important to oral health, especially during pregnancy when the risk of gum disease is increased. Brush at least twice a day for a full two minutes each brushing. Use short, thorough strokes, paying particular attention to the gum line and back teeth, where plaque is most likely to collect.
  • Floss at least once a day: Flossing is just as important to protecting oral health and preventing gum disease as brushing. Floss at least once a day between each tooth, reaching as far along the gum line as possible to remove the plaque and bacteria brushing can't reach.
  • Don't skip regular dental check-ups and cleanings: Regular dental exams and professional cleanings are safe during pregnancy and, in fact, should not be skipped. The second trimester is often the best time during pregnancy to schedule a dental exam since morning sickness usually subsides by this time and the general discomfort of pregnancy is still manageable.
  • Rinse with water when experiencing morning sickness: If you do experience morning sickness, be sure to rinse your mouth with water to remove and neutralize stomach acid in the mouth. Stomach acid is corrosive and can erode tooth enamel.
  • Postpone non-emergency dental treatments until after pregnancy: Save any non-emergency dental treatments, like teeth whitening, for after pregnancy. Emergency treatments, like dental fillings, can be placed to prevent further damage and associated complications.
  • Limit dental X-rays for emergency situations: Though the amount of radiation used in dental X-rays is minimal and no ill effects have been observed on fetal health, it's safest to avoid undergoing dental X-rays during pregnancy. In case of a dental emergency, X-rays can be taken, but be sure to let your dentist know you're pregnant so extra precautions can be taken.