It’s vitally important for you to take good care of your oral health while you are pregnant. This is because pregnancy causes hormonal changes that increase your risk of developing gum disease, and because your oral health can affect the health of your developing baby.
Below are some suggestions for maintaining good oral health as well as your baby’s health and safety //? before, during, and after your pregnancy.
While you are pregnant
- Tell your dentist (and doctor) if you know you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant. This will help your health care providers plan for any treatments or procedures. It’s always best to complete any major dental treatment prior to pregnancy. Routine dental care, on the other hand, can be received during the second trimester. As a precautionary measure, dental treatments during the first trimester and second half of the third trimester should be avoided as much as possible. These are critical times in the baby’s growth and development, and it’s simply wise to avoid exposing the mother to procedures that could in any way “influence” the baby’s growth and development. All elective dental procedures should be postponed until after the delivery.
- Tell your dentist the names and dosages of all medicines you are taking including medicines and prenatal vitamins prescribed by your doctor, as well as any specific medical advice your doctor has given you to follow. Your dentist might need to alter your dental treatment plan based on this information. Certain drugs: such as tetracycline //? can affect the development of your child’s teeth and should not be given during pregnancy.
Avoid dental X-rays during pregnancy: If X-rays are essential (such as in a dental emergency), your dentist will use a shield to safeguard you and your baby. Advances in dentistry have made X-rays much safer today than in past decades.
- Don’t skip your dental check-up appointment simply because you are pregnant and believe this appointment is not important. Now more than any other time, regular periodontal exams are very important. Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that put you at increased risk for periodontal disease and for tender gums that bleed easily //? a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. To remove irritants, control plaque, and maintain optimum oral health, you might actually benefit from more frequent professional cleanings during your second trimester or early third trimester rather than fewer dental visits. Pay particular attention to any changes in your gums during pregnancy. If tenderness, bleeding, or gum swelling occurs at any time during your pregnancy, talk with your dentist as soon as possible.
- Follow good oral hygiene practices to prevent and/or reduce gingival problems, including brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Use a good-quality, soft-bristled toothbrush. Use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and brush for at least two minutes to remove the plaque that forms on your teeth.
If morning sickness is keeping you from brushing your teeth, change to bland-tasting toothpaste during your pregnancy. Ask your dentist or hygienist to recommend brands.
Rinse your mouth out with water or a mouth rinse if you suffer from morning sickness and have bouts of frequent vomiting.
- Ask your dentist about the need for fluoride supplements: Since fluoride is found in water and almost all brands of toothpaste, fluoride supplementation might not be necessary.
Avoid sugary snacks: Sweet cravings are common during pregnancy. However, keep in mind that the more frequently you snack, the greater the chance of developing tooth decay. Additionally, some studies have shown that the bacteria responsible for tooth decay are passed from the mother to the child, so be careful of what you eat.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet: Your baby’s first teeth begin to develop about three months into your pregnancy. Healthy diets containing dairy products, cheese, and yogurt are good sources of these essential minerals and are good for your baby’s developing teeth, gums, and bones.
After you’ve had your baby
If you experienced any gum problems (including pregnancy gingivitis or a pregnancy tumour) during your pregnancy, see your dentist soon after delivery to have your entire mouth examined and your periodontal health evaluated.