The Whole Tooth

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Believe it or not but good dental health is essential during pregnancy, for you and baby, writes Emma Deane

Pregnant women are more prone to tooth decay (dental caries), bleeding gums and chronic gum infection (periodontal disease).

Poor dental health not only affects you, but can also have an impact on your baby.

Studies have linked infection in the gums in pregnant women to premature birth, and if a woman has ongoing tooth decay after the birth, her baby may acquire bacteria directly from her saliva, leading to tooth decay in the child later on.

It’s therefore important that you take good care of your teeth during pregnancy.

For most women, routine dental visits are safe during pregnancy, but let your dentist know what month you are in when you make your appointment.

If yours is a high-risk pregnancy or you have some other medical condition, your dentist and your doctor may recommend that treatment be postponed.

Keep Your Dentist Informed 

Be sure to let your dentist know if there is any change in the medications you take or if you have received any special advice from your doctor.

The benefits of receiving dental care during pregnancy far outweigh potential risks.

Be sure to keep your dentist informed of any changes in your mouth such as swelling, redness or bleeding.

During pregnancy, your hormone levels dramatically increase.

The rise in pro-gesterone causes your gums to have an exaggerated response to plaque.

Women may experience pregnancy gingivitis, especially during months two through eight.

Symptoms include red, puffy or tender gums that tend to bleed while you brush or floss your teeth.

Even if you do brush and floss daily, any changes in your teeth and gums should be examined by a dentist.

5 tips for dental health during pregnancy

1/ Be diligent about your oral hygiene. Frequent brushing, flossing and proper nutrition are most important in keeping your teeth and gums healthy.

2/ See your dentist. Make sure to visit your dentist shortly before or after you become pregnant.

3/ If you need help controlling plaque, your dentist may recommend rinsing at night with an antimicrobial mouth rinse.

4/ If you have morning sickness and are vomiting frequently, try rinsing with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water to stop stomach acid from attacking your teeth.

5/ Plan ahead. Whenever possible, take care of essential dental needs before planning to become pregnant.

This will lower the potential for oral infections and their potentially harmful effects on your pregnancy, as well as decrease the likelihood of stressful dental emergencies.

 

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