It’s finally happened. After weeks, months, or even years of trying, you’re finally expecting a little bundle of joy. Congratulations! Your life is going to change in a big way from the moment you see that positive pregnancy test. Now, your health needs to be priority number one – and that includes your oral health, too!
Proper dental care is very important during a woman’s pregnancy. Changes in her hormone levels can make her gums swollen and irritated. It is essential that she practices proper oral hygiene and visits her dentist for her routine appointments.
However, those dental visits can be stressful, especially for new moms. Are dental procedures safe for the baby? Let’s look at the best ways to care for your teeth during your pregnancy.
The American Dental Association encourages women to visit their dentist for regular checkups and cleanings during pregnancy.
Filling cavities and receiving crowns are also considered safe during pregnancy. In fact, these procedures are encouraged! If left untreated, cavities or broken teeth can become infected, and there is evidence that infection in pregnant women can lead to preterm birth.
While it is safe to go to your dentist during your pregnancy, women should tell the dentist that they are pregnant at the start of the appointment. This is because there are some procedures that a dentist may postpone during those nine months.
For example, most dentists elect to postpone dental x-rays while a patient is pregnant. This is to prevent any radiation exposure to the baby. (However, if you do happen to get an x-ray while pregnant, don’t panic: the American College of Radiology reports that the amount of radiation in an x-ray is not enough to harm an unborn baby).
Dentists may also avoid doing non-emergency dental procedures in the third trimester of a pregnancy. This is to prevent the use of lidocaine, a common anesthetic that can cross the placenta after administration. Also, dentists may not want pregnant patients to lie on their backs, as this can be uncomfortable late in a pregnancy.
How to Keep Your Teeth Healthy
Of course, the best way to keep your mouth healthy is to practice proper dental care during your pregnancy. How do you do it? Brush and floss twice a day, and follow these helpful hints:
Eat a Balanced Diet
Everyone knows that pregnant women can have some pretty crazy food cravings. But if you want to keep yourself – and your baby – healthy, it’s important to eat a well-balanced diet. Make sure you’re enjoying plenty of fruits and veggies. Drink lots of water too; this will help clear food particles and bacteria from your teeth.
Be Careful with Morning Sickness
Morning sickness can strike at any time during your pregnancy, causing nausea and vomiting. Unfortunately, all that acid is terrible for your teeth! If you do become sick, rinse your mouth with water mixed with a teaspoon of baking soda. This will neutralize the stomach acid and protect your pearly whites.
Visit Your Dentist
As we’ve already mentioned, routine dental visits are safe during your pregnancy. Your dentist will be able to closely examine your teeth. He or she can tell you if they spot any gum disease or infection. These conditions can have adverse effects on your pregnancy, so it’s important to keep a careful eye on your oral health.
Book Your Appointment Today
Whether or not you’re expecting a little one, Oradent Associates is here to help with all your general dentistry needs. Call us to schedule an appointment today!