Pregnancy and Dental Care
By Stephen Rogers on March 09, 2015
If you're pregnant, or planning to become pregnant soon, you may be wondering what changes will need to be made to your dental care routine. The good news is most general dentistry treatments are acceptable for expectant mothers. In fact, oral health issues should be treated and good oral hygiene habits should be practiced throughout pregnancy. To help you understand which treatments are suitable for pregnant women, and which to avoid, the dentists of Greater Long Island Dental present these dental care tips.
Dental Care during Pregnancy
Good dental care is important whether or not you're pregnant. However, it's important to note that pregnant women are at greater risk of developing gum disease. This is due to hormonal changes, specifically an increase of progesterone, seen in pregnancy. Untreated gum disease can lead to tooth decay, painful abscesses, or even tooth loss. It is also believed that infections from gum disease may spread to other areas of the body, specifically the heart, via the bloodstream. Recent studies have also suggested there may be a link between severe gum disease and premature birth. That being said, it's important for expectant mothers to follow a proper dental care routine to maintain mother and baby's health. Here are some important dental care tips for expectant mothers.
- Brush twice a day: Brush your teeth at least twice a day, every day. Brush for a full two minutes at each brushing, being sure to clean the gum line and back teeth well. Proper brushing helps reduce the risk of dental cavities and gum disease.
- Floss once a day: Flossing should be done at least once a day to remove plaque, bacteria, and food debris brushing is unable to reach. Be sure to thoroughly floss along each side of each tooth and as far along the gum line as possible to fully clean the teeth and reduce the risk of gum disease.
- Continue with regular dental check-ups and cleanings: Regular dental exams and professional cleanings are completely safe for pregnant women and should not be skipped. Though a general check-up and cleaning can be performed at any point during pregnancy, it is generally preferable to perform these during the second trimester since this is when women tend to be free of nausea and less likely to find sitting for an extended period uncomfortable.
- Protect your teeth from morning sickness: Morning sickness can be damaging to the teeth. Stomach acid can erode the tooth's enamel, leading to increased tooth sensitivity and even decay. If you suffer from morning sickness, it's important to rinse the teeth well with water after vomiting to neutralize and remove stomach acid within the mouth.
- Seek treatment for emergency issues: Emergency dental issues, like a dental cavity or painful root canal infections, should be treated as soon as possible, regardless of the stage of pregnancy, to prevent further damage and reduce the risk of infection.
- Avoid elective, cosmetic treatments: Non-emergency treatments, like teeth whitening and cosmetic porcelain veneers, should be avoided during pregnancy to prevent any undue risk to the mother and baby.
- Avoid dental X-rays unless needed for emergency treatment: Though the amount of radiation used in dental X-rays is minimal and no impact to fetal health have been observed, it is best to avoid unnecessary dental X-rays during pregnancy. If X-rays are required for emergency dental treatment, precautions will be taken to ensure the safety of your baby.
Schedule a Consultation
To find out more about dental care during pregnancy, we welcome you to schedule a consultation at Greater Long Island Dental.
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