Are you planning to start a family? Fantastic!
Make a dental exam part of your pre-pregnancy checklist: get your mouth healthy before you conceive, and have regular preventive care during your pregnancy for a healthier baby.
Your oral health during your pregnancy can affect the health of your unborn baby. Dental infections, including gingivitis and periodontal disease, have been linked to preterm labor and delivery. Here are some tips on how to keep your mouth healthy, so your baby can grow to be strong and healthy.
- Don’t avoid going to the dentist just because of your pregnancy. It is important to have your oral health closely monitored with more frequent cleanings and exams. Remember, it’s not just you that you’re taking care of and trying to keep healthy – it’s your baby, too!
- If you are planning a pregnancy, try to have all of your major dental work done before the pregnancy. If this is not possible, it may be best to wait until the second trimester to have minor elective work done. Preventive care can be done anytime, so keep up with regular dental preventive care visits, and if you have bleeding gums you may need to be seen more often.
- Be sure to tell us that you are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant. This information could alter the treatment plan, or even cause your dentist to postpone treatment. Also, certain medications that the dentist could prescribe, such as tetracycline, could affect your baby.
- Avoid non-emergency work in the first and second half of the third trimester, as critical growth and development take place and it’s best to avoid any possible complicating effects. Major elective treatment is best deferred until after the delivery. Avoid dental x-rays during pregnancy. If they are essential due to an urgent situation, you and your baby will be shielded. Current x-ray technology has less radiation to a smaller area than in years past.
- Be sure to brush your teeth after eating, using a soft brush toothpaste with both fluoride and Xylitol. Consider investing in an electric brush, and floss at least once daily. If you are eating 6 smaller meals a day instead of 3 larger ones, increasing your brushing will decrease your risk of decay. If you can’t brush, rinse with an anti-cavity rinse like CariFree CTx3 (fluoride to strengthen teeth, Xylitol to reduce oral bacteria and prevent transmission to your children, and an alkaline pH to neutralize acids), chew sugar-free gum with Xylitol, or at least rinse with water.
- If you have morning sickness, don’t avoid brushing your teeth to avoid sickness. Try using a bland tasting toothpaste and brushing your teeth more frequently for less time, or rinse with an anti-cavity rinse like CariFree CTx3.
- If you have acid reflux or morning sickness with vomiting, rinse your mouth out 8 oz of water and 1 tbsp. baking soda mixed together after every episode to neutralize acids. Brushing on acid can cause enamel erosion. Using a bland toothpaste (such as vanilla flavor) may be less of a trigger to gag; also brushing after breakfast is better than upon waking. If you can’t brush, rinse with a neutralizing fluoride and Xylitol rinse, such as CariFree CTx3. We have it here at Strong & Healthy Smiles!
- Eat a healthy diet, rich in vitamins and minerals. Your baby’s teeth begin to form during the third month of pregnancy, so eating foods that are high in minerals such as calcium will help your baby grow strong teeth and bones. Try to avoid sugary snacks. If sugary snacks are a must due to cravings, be sure to brush and floss your teeth after snacking.
- If you develop gum problems, such as gingivitis or a pregnancy tumor, don’t wait for the problem to fix itself; it won’t. See us as soon as possible so the problem can be treated before it causes a problem for your baby.
- Old Wives Tales such as “The baby robs my teeth of calcium” are not true. Your growing baby gets what it needs from what you eat and the vitamins and minerals stored in your body. “Losing a tooth for every baby” doesn’t need to happen if you follow our top tips for a strong and healthy smile during pregnancy.