Pregnancy and Dental Care
Proper dental care is important to maintaining oral health, which is especially true during pregnancy. Pregnancy brings on many changes in a woman's body, including hormonal changes that can increase the risk of gum disease. Fortunately, most general dentistry treatments are perfectly safe for expectant mothers. To learn more about dental care and pregnancy, contact Birmingham dentist Burton Gooch.
Dental Care Tips to Follow during Pregnancy
Practicing proper dental care is necessary to maintaining a healthy smile and shouldn't be neglected during pregnancy. Pregnant women are at an increased risk of developing gum disease due to an increase of the hormone progesterone. Gum disease is an infection of the gums that can lead to tooth decay and even tooth loss. Severe gum disease may also be linked to premature birth; studies have found that women with severe gum disease are more likely to deliver prematurely. Practicing proper dental care is particularly important to the mother and baby's health. Expectant mothers can help reduce the risk of gum disease and other dental issues by following these dental care tips:
- Floss everyday: Flossing is one of the best ways to prevent gum disease because flossing reaches where brushing can't. Floss at least once a day, everyday. When flossing, be sure to sweep the floss up and down along each side of each tooth, reaching as far along the gum line as possible.
- Brush a minimum of twice a day: The teeth should be brushed at least twice a day for a minimum of two full minutes each brushing. Brushing the teeth helps remove plaque, bacteria, and food remnants to reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. When brushing, use a 45º angle to reach into the gum line and thoroughly brush all surfaces of the teeth.
- See your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings: Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are safe for pregnant women and should not be skipped. Regular dental exams are important for catching any dental issues at their earliest stages and cleanings are important for removing gum disease causing plaque and tartar from hard to clean areas.
- Get treatment for dental emergencies: Expectant mothers who experience a dental emergency, like a broken tooth or root canal infection, should seek treatment to prevent more serious damage from developing. Emergency treatments can be performed at any stage of pregnancy. Be sure to tell your dentist if you're pregnant so any necessary precautions can be taken during treatment.
- Rinse with water if you suffer from morning sickness: If you suffer from morning sickness, be sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly after being sick. The stomach acid in vomit can erode the protective enamel layer on the teeth, leading to tooth decay. Rinsing with water helps remove and neutralize harmful stomach acid.
- Limit dental X-rays to emergency treatments only: Though dental X-rays have not been linked to issues with fetal health, it is best to avoid X-rays during pregnancy, unless needed for a dental emergency. If X-rays are necessary during pregnancy, extra care will be taken to protect the baby and limit X-ray exposure.
- Save cosmetic treatments for after pregnancy: Purely cosmetic treatments, like porcelain veneers or teeth whitening, should be done after pregnancy. Though cosmetic treatments are not likely to cause harm, it is best not to put undue stress on the mother or baby.
Schedule an Appointment
For more information about dental care during pregnancy, schedule a consultation with Dr. Gooch today.