Pregnancy is a very exciting time, but it can also be very hectic. While you’re busy decorating the nursery and preparing for the new addition to your family, find time to keep up with your dental health because it is important. Not only for you, but also for the little one you’re carrying.
If your regular cleaning falls during the pregnancy, don’t skip the appointment! Your teeth need to be in tip top shape for the coming baby.
The Effects of Pregnancy on Your Mouth
While dental hygiene is always a must, it’s even more important while you are pregnant because there are changes in your mouth that could affect your child.
Since pregnancy brings with it a lot of hormonal changes, it could cause your body to react differently to plaque build-up. You know plaque. That sticky yellowish gunk that build up on your teeth when you don’t brush, floss and rinse regularly. Your gums may be more sensitive to it, and they can become red, puffy and sore. Also, research shows that women who are pregnant have a higher presence of bacteria in their mouth, which could lead to an infection. If you’ve ever heard a pregnant woman say they’re “eating for two,” you know that everything you do while pregnant affects both you and the baby. So, a tooth or gum infection – even a minor one – could become a concern for not only you, but also your baby. Prevention is the key here.
Another issue that some women may experience during pregnancy is enamel erosion. This is when the protective layer around your teeth breaks down, leaving them vulnerable to cracking, chipping, infection and decay. It can happen if you eat too many foods high in acid, like lemons.
However, morning sickness – a common problem at the beginning of pregnancy – can become a culprit too because repeated vomiting can cause a lot of acid build up on your teeth leading to significant damage. Though brushing your teeth may be the last thing you want to do when you’re not feeling great, make sure you do so after a bout of morning sickness.
Dental Care Before, During and After Pregnancy
In addition to making sure you brush well and have regular dental checkups during your pregnancy, you should follow these guidelines to protect your health and your baby’s:
Before - Make an appointment with Dr. David M. Kaffey to get a thorough professional cleaning when you are planning to get pregnant. This way he can catch any existing issues before you’re “eating for two”. Even if you have a perfectly healthy smile, it’s always a good idea to consult a professional to make sure.
During - The good news is that routine dental care is safe during pregnancy. Contrary to what some people believe, x-rays are safe when the proper precautions are taken, including wearing a protective vest to shield your abdomen. Make sure Dr. Kaffey knows you are – or are trying to – become pregnant at the beginning of your appointment so he can give you the proper care.
Diet is also very important during pregnancy (as you may know), and that includes avoiding foods that might hurt your teeth. Cravings are normal, but try not to snack on anything too sugary or sticky. The last thing you need while you’re pregnant is a cavity or tooth ache.
After - It’s a good idea to get your mouth checked again for any signs of damage that may have occurred during the pregnancy. Once you have the all-clear, you can go back to enjoying time with your newborn child.
The time before, during and after a pregnancy can be a crazy time, but Dr. Kaffey can help to make sure your mouth is healthy the whole way through. Call or email if you have questions about your teeth at any stage of pregnancy, and plan for regular visits during the process. If you take the necessary steps throughout your pregnancy, then your teeth will be the least of your concerns during this memorable time.