How being pregnant affects your oral health.
Being pregnant is an exciting experience in your life that comes with many changes to your life and body. Your oral health is no exception. As a family dentist, Dr. Lauren Schultz has had plenty of experience helping expecting mother’s keep their healthy, beautiful smiles.
For most women during pregnancy, routine dental visits are safe, but it’s important to let the dentist know what stage of pregnancy you are in when making an appointment. Always update the office on any medications that you are taking and let them know if there are any special instructions from your physician.
Pregnancy related Gingivitis
During pregnancy some women may experience swollen gums and mild bleeding. This is known as pregnancy gingivitis. This is a form of gum disease that manifests as red, sore, and even excessive bleeding of the gums. Depending on the nature of your gums, we as dentists may recommend more frequent cleanings during your pregnancy to prevent more serious gum disease in the future. Speak with your dentist about different products to use to keep your teeth healthy before, during, and after pregnancy.
When eating more, choose healthier foods
You’re eating for (at least) two now. Expect to eat more and have an increased urge to snack. This is fine and completely normal. The problem stems not from eating, but from what you eat. Choose healthier, nourishing foods that are full of vitamins. Good examples of foods to snack on include carrots, apples, yogurt and cheese in small amounts. Avoid the candies and cakes on a daily basis to prevent an increase in cavities and other oral health issues. But don’t forget, it’s OK to treat yourself and your little one once in awhile.
Not only is it important to think of your teeth during pregnancy, but also your baby’s! Your baby’s teeth will begin to develop before they are even born! This is why it is very important to have a diet that is sufficient in Vitamins A, C, D, protein, calcium, and phosphorous.
Don’t worry, dental X-rays are safe
If you have dental surgery or an extraction while you’re pregnant, your dentist may have to take X-rays. If you’re concerned about the safety of dental X-rays while you’re pregnant, you’ll be relieved to know that they are perfectly fine to have taken.
The dentist will only be using the X-ray machine to take images of your teeth and jaw line, so your baby won’t be in direct line of the X-ray. Additionally, your dentist will cover you with a lead vest that blocks any potential X-rays that could reach your baby. Even general X-rays of your body while pregnant are considered to be very safe according to the Mayo Clinic.
Preventing morning sickness from harming your teeth
Morning sickness is to be expected with pregnancy. It usually begins around week 6 of pregnancy and it affects women differently, but vomiting can occur on a daily basis or more. Despite being called morning sickness, it can strike at anytime through the day. When you vomit, stomach acid will naturally come into contact with your teeth. To prevent this stomach acid from eating away at the enamel that protects your teeth, you should consider rinsing your mouth with a baking soda rinse. Take one teaspoon of baking soda and mix with a cup of water. Swish this around your mouth and spit out into the sink. The baking soda will help neutralize any acid in your mouth.