Did you know that it’s a good idea to take extra steps to maintain your dental hygiene while you’re pregnant? There’s a connection between your pregnancy and your oral health, and how you take care of your mouth could even have an impact on the well-being of your child. So check out the prenatal oral care tips below to ensure you can keep both your mouth and your baby as healthy as possible.
Pregnancy causes you to go through hormonal changes that may boost your risk of developing gum disease. Studies have already found that a lot of women will develop gingivitis while they’re pregnant. This could be due to the fact that higher hormone levels might affect the way that your gums react to plaque.
Unfortunately, your oral health issues don’t just affect you; they could adversely affect the health of your baby too. In fact, experts have determined that, if you have gum disease while you’re pregnant, your risk of having your baby prematurely, or delivering a baby who is underweight, might increase. Scary!
How could this be? Well, additional research will help experts get more answers, but in the meantime, the evidence shows that gum disease could trigger higher amounts of the chemicals that would induce labor. And the more severe the gum disease, the greater the risk of having a baby prematurely.
On top of negatively affecting the health of your gums, higher levels of certain hormones during pregnancy might even cause your teeth to feel loose. And because pregnancy could cause you to have more acid in your mouth, the risk of tooth decay might also increase. Yikes!
Sure, you have a lot on your mind and loads to get done before your baby arrives, but seeing your dentist throughout your pregnancy is another important step that you can take to rest assured that your teeth and gums are clean and healthy. Just be sure to inform your dentist that you’re pregnant, and be open and upfront about medications and supplements (including prenatal vitamins) that you’re taking. Also let your dentist know if you’ve had miscarriages in the past or if you’re experiencing any other health concerns or stress.
Although you could receive routine dental care throughout your pregnancy, some experts recommend seeing your dentist anywhere from the fourth to the sixth month of pregnancy. If you do see your dentist during your first trimester, he or she might choose to avoid things like pain medications, x-rays, antibiotics, and anesthetics unless they’re really necessary.
Urgent dental procedures could be completed during your pregnancy, too, but follow your dentist’s advice based upon your state of health. When it comes to elective procedures, on the other hand, you can hold off until after you’ve had your baby. And if you have any questions regarding the type of dental care that you can receive, consider talking to your obstetrician first.
Extra Tip: Planning on getting pregnant? Take action early by seeing your dentist for an exam and a cleaning. This way, you can treat any dental or gum problems in advance and start your pregnancy off with a clean and healthy mouth.
Taking care of your oral health during pregnancy is an essential step that could help ensure the health of your child. But even after you’ve given birth, it’s a great idea to see your dentist for another checkup, especially if you were diagnosed with a condition like gingivitis while you were expecting. Overall, with the right dental care strategy, you could welcome a strong baby, and you’ll be sporting a bright smile for all of those photos with your bundle of joy!