Oral health care is an exceptionally important component of a healthy pregnancy. It is important for both the care of the expecting mother, as well as the health of the unborn child. There is quite a bit of discussion around if dental visits are safe while pregnant. Lindenwoods Dental and Dr. Lintner want patients to know dental care during pregnancy is not only safe, it is essential and effective at combating pregnancy gingivitis and promoting overall health for mother and child. The American Dental Association, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics all support women receiving dental care while pregnant.
Oral Hygiene Before Pregnancy
One bit of advice which many mothers don’t think of is that if embarking on a planned pregnancy, it is wise to visit your Kalamazoo dental office prior to getting pregnant. This should include a full checkup, cleaning, and x-rays. This will allow your dentist to treat any present oral health issues before pregnancy begins.
When Should I Visit the Dentist While Pregnant?
The American Pregnancy Association recommends scheduling your appointment for your second trimester. Patients usually aren’t too uncomfortable lying on their backs at this time but have gotten past the first trimester hurdles.
Ensuring a Healthy Pregnancy
Many women will experience swollen, red, inflamed or even bleeding gums during pregnancy – this is called pregnancy gingivitis and is quite common. An increase in hormones exaggerates the way the gums react to plaque buildup. This plaque can then lead to gum disease.
What many mothers don’t know is that gum disease can actually affect the health of their fetus. In mild cases, this is not likely to be dangerous. However, if the disease is allowed to continue unchecked and develop into the more serious periodontitis, then complications could arise. Studies have shown that women with such condition are more likely to give birth to a preterm baby.
Any tooth pain that is experienced during pregnancy should be treated promptly to avoid infection. Infection in the gums and teeth can spread easily throughout the body and negatively affect the health of the fetus. If this happens, your dentist will address the infection and give recommendations for antibiotics which are safe to take during pregnancy.
Health issues connected to poor oral hygiene during pregnancy can typically be avoided with proper oral care. Since your oral health habits can affect the health of your baby, it is possibly even more important for pregnant women to maintain good habits during this time.
Healthy Oral Hygiene Habits While Pregnant Include:
- Tell your dentist you are pregnant
- Tell your dentist about all medication and vitamins you are taking
- Do not skip dental checkups because you are pregnant
- Brush twice daily
- Floss daily
Dietary guidelines which are recommended by dentists serve a dual purpose when pregnant. Not only will avoiding sugary snacks and eating a healthy, well-balanced diet help you have a healthy mouth and strong teeth, it will also help give your child the proper nutrition to grow and flourish throughout pregnancy.
What to Avoid While Pregnant
If you were thinking of doing any major dental aesthetic treatments, these are typically performed before or after pregnancy. Most often x-rays, antibiotics, anesthesia and/or pain medication is needed with aesthetic dental care and all of these should be avoided while pregnant if possible. Although x-rays are safer now than before, we typically avoid them unless it is a dental emergency. If you do have a dental emergency or need a problem diagnosed, don’t panic about having x-rays. Lindenwoods Dental will cover your abdomen with a leaded apron to minimize exposure.
After Pregnancy Dental Care
Visit your Kalamazoo dental office for a thorough exam. At this time the elective dental work you may have been looking to receive can be scheduled and performed.