Seeing Your Dentist During Pregnancy
Pregnant or know someone who is? You may already know that pregnancy causes physical changes that affect hormone or appetite levels. Did you know these changes can have an impact on oral health too? Good oral health is essential for the overall health of both mother and child, yet only 22% to 34% of women in the United States visit a dentist during pregnancy. Read on to discover why we need to be part of your medical team during pregnancy.
Add Us to Your Medical Team During Pregnancy
If you are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant, be sure to include us on your team of health professionals. Establishing and maintaining good oral health contributes immensely to your overall health. And your baby’s good health is dependent on yours.
We want to stress that visits to us during pregnancy are completely safe. Precautions are always taken to protect you and your unborn baby during your visit, and routine care can be done any time. Some procedures might be postponed until the second trimester to avoid affecting the important development phase during the first trimester and during the last trimester to avoid possibly uncomfortable “chair time” for you.
On your first visit, be sure to tell us about your health history, including the trimester you are in, other medical conditions, any medications you are taking, any advice from your physician, past miscarriages, and if this is a high-risk pregnancy. This information will help us determine the best treatment plan and approach to take for your dental care during pregnancy.
Why Visit Us During Pregnancy?
Growing evidence suggests a link between gum disease and premature or underweight births. Inflammation in your gums (gingivitis) is more common during pregnancy due to hormonal changes that encourage plaque buildup. Brushing your teeth twice daily and daily flossing will go a long way toward control, and possible prevention, of gingivitis. Substituting sweets with more wholesome foods will help dramatically reduce or even prevent gingivitis during pregnancy, as well. We may recommend more frequent visits for cleaning, especially if you are prone to cavities or have had prior gum disease.
During a pregnancy, your mouth is much more acidic. Add the vomiting as a result of morning sickness, and the amount of acid your teeth’s enamel is exposed to is greatly increased. For morning sickness, the American Dental Association recommends rinsing after vomiting with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed in water to dilute the effects of the acid.
In addition to maintaining good oral hygiene, seeing us during your pregnancy allows us to catch problems early while they may still be invisible to you. Early detection of any problem always assures the best outcome.
Dr. Fara Afshar