Did you know that taking care of your teeth while pregnant can help prevent cavities in your children? We don’t always think about it, but oral healthcare is an essential part of prenatal care. Dental care for moms gives babies a terrific start in terms of both oral and overall health. Seeing your dentist regularly also helps you stay healthy during pregnancy.
Should I Be Worried About Getting Dental Care While Pregnant?
There’s a lot to worry about during pregnancy. And some moms-to-be are concerned about going to the dentist. In fact, keeping up with routine oral healthcare is an essential part of prenatal care. Seeing your dentist during pregnancy is safe and necessary.
According to the American Dental Association, studies have shown that local anesthetics are safe during pregnancy. It’s also safe to get an x-ray during pregnancy. Your dentist will cover your abdomen with a special leaded apron for extra protection.
Tell your dentist if you’re pregnant or think you may be pregnant, even if you’re not announcing it to friends and family. Your dentist is a healthcare provider, so it’s important to let her know so she can take precautions as needed. Let your dentist know if your doctor has given you special instructions or prescribed new medications. If your pregnancy is high-risk, your dentist may recommend delaying certain procedures until after your baby is born, but most routine treatments are safe for moms-to-be.
What Are Common Pregnancy-Related Oral Health Issues?
Hormonal and physiological changes can make women more susceptible to oral health problems during pregnancy.
- Pregnant women are more likely to experience gum disease (also called pregnancy gingivitis). Your gums may become inflamed and prone to bleeding. According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, up to 40 percent of women have some form of periodontal disease.
- Pregnant women are more likely to experience tooth decay, according to ACOG.
- Frequent vomiting and morning sickness can cause enamel erosion because of exposure to acid.
- Some women experience pregnancy tumors, benign red lumps usually near the upper gum line. See your family dentist if you notice anything unusual.
Why Is Dental Care So Important During Pregnancy?
Studies show a link between a mom’s oral health during pregnancy and healthy teeth for kids. Keeping your teeth and gums healthy sets your baby down a path for excellent oral health. Oral health problems in pregnant women can also cause other health issues for both mom and baby. According to the Children’s Dental Health Project, studies link oral health problems in pregnancy to:
- Preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and damage to organ systems, including the liver and kidneys.
- Preterm birth.
- Low birth weight infants.
How Can I Keep My Baby Healthy With Great Oral Care?
Keeping your teeth and gums healthy is essential for your own health as well as your newborn’s. Getting into good habits also lays the groundwork for setting an excellent example for your baby as she grows. Here are some ways you can protect your baby’s health in cooperation with your family dentist:
- Brush and floss twice a day.
- Rinse with baking soda and water after vomiting to neutralize acids.
- Eat healthy foods when you get cravings and limit sugary snacks and beverages.
- Drink tap water that contains fluoride.
- See your dentist for regular checkups and make an appointment if you have any problems with teeth or gums.
- Getting into good habits to set a good example for your baby as she grows
At Greenhill Family Dental Care, our doctors and staff love working with parents, kids and moms-to-be to build solid oral health foundations. One of the joys of family dentistry is supporting women during their pregnancies and caring for their children’s oral health as they grow. If you’re pregnant and have questions or concerns, reach out to our caring staff. Communication is an essential part of solid family-centered oral care.