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Dental care during pregnancy: Everything expectant mothers should know

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pregnancy dental care

Pregnancy is an incredible time for women as many physical and hormonal changes occur. The excited mother-to-be should not neglect her oral health, and visiting her dentist is particularly beneficial to maintain proper and safe oral hygiene. Rufe Snow Dental Group gives tips to help maintain good oral health before, during, and after pregnancy.

Dental care before pregnancy

For women planning to have a baby, an appointment with the dentist is one of the priorities in terms of medical check-ups. This examination should include thorough teeth cleaning and whitening, examining the gum tissue and any oral health problems must be treated effectively before pregnancy.

Dental care during pregnancy

  • Don’t skip a dental appointment just because you’re pregnant. Dental check-ups are important because pregnancy causes hormonal changes increasing the risk of periodontal disease and sensitive gums. Gingivitis often occurs during pregnancy, and when there is already significant gum disease, pregnancy can worsen it.
  • Inform your dentist about the medication you may be taking or a birth plan (cesarean). Your dentist may need to change your dental treatment based on this information.
  • Simple dental procedures such as fillings and cleanings can be done, with local anesthesia, without any problems. Some urgent procedures, such as root canals, or even extractions, can be performed during pregnancy if necessary.
  • While a dental exam and teeth cleaning are safe at any point during your pregnancy, you should avoid some procedures during the first trimester. Cosmetic dental work, or whitening, should be postponed until after the delivery.
  • The use of local anesthesia is safe during pregnancy but in small doses.
  • Dental X-rays should only be allowed if necessary. According to the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), digital intraoral X-rays emit minimal radiation and pose no risk to the expectant mother and the fetus,  provided the necessary precautions are taken meticulously.

Follow good oral hygiene practices to prevent and reduce oral health problems

• Brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste at least twice daily. In case of morning sickness, rinse your mouth with water and avoid brushing immediately afterward.

• Use dental floss daily and mild mouthwash.

Enjoy a healthy and balanced diet, plenty of dairy products, milk, cheese, and yogurt are essential for the baby’s healthy development.

 • Avoid snacks and sugary treats between meals, with additives and preservatives, which are harmful to both, the mother and the child.

Does oral health affect pregnancy?

There is increasing evidence that women who suffer from gingivitis and periodontitis during pregnancy have a greater risk of premature births and underweight babies.

Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that increase the risk of gingivitis, which, in turn, can affect the baby’s health. This is due to the changes in estrogen and progesterone levels. The main symptoms are red, irritated, and swollen gums which bleed easily during tooth brushing.  

During pregnancy, morning sickness may expose teeth to increasing stomach acids, causing tooth decay.

Is dental medication safe during pregnancy?

Taking any medication requires special attention always following your doctor’s advice. As for the antibiotics prescribed by the dentist, most of them are considered safe. You should be extra careful with painkillers during pregnancy and take pain relievers in small doses only when necessary. As a general rule, take only medication prescribed by your doctor.

Dental care after labor

If there were gum problems during pregnancy, visit the dentist immediately after giving birth for a thorough oral health check-up. Dental care is vital during pregnancy because oral health affects your overall health and your baby’s, so keeping your mouth healthy helps keep you and your baby healthy.

Enjoy your pregnancy but don’t forget proper daily oral hygiene. It is crucial to take good care of your teeth and gums. Neglecting developing dental problems affects the health of both the mother and unborn child.  For a treatment plan, and the necessary medical, nutritional, and dental care for mothers-to-be, contact Rufe Snow Dental Group.

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