| Monday, June 20, 2016 |
One of the most exciting times in my life was when I found out that I was expecting. There’s so much excitement, anticipation, and wonder that comes with those 2 little lines. With all of the gender reveal parties, doctors visits, ultrasounds, maternity pictures, and birth plans, it is easy to overlook our oral health. Believe it or not, pregnancy can take a toll on our oral health if we are not careful. Our best advice for women who are considering becoming pregnant is to visit their dentist and address any oral problems prior to becoming pregnant. Your dentist will assess your oral health and make a treatment plan for any needed treatment. Good oral hygiene and dental visits are essential to a healthy pregnancy, a healthy baby, and a healthy momma. Be sure to brush 2-3 times a day and floss at least 1 time per day. This will assure that there is a minimal amount of plaque on your teeth and gums. This will lower your risks for preterm labor, underweight infants, pain, discomfort, erosion, decay, and many other conditions.
Evidence suggests that there is a link between gum disease, preterm labor, and underweight babies. Research reveals that gum disease triggers an increase in prostaglandins, which in turn induces labor. Women with gum disease have an increased risk of early labor and small babies. Preterm infants are at a higher risk for health issues and prolonged hospital stays verses full term infants.
Pregnancy gingivitis is also a concern for pregnant women. Pregnancy gingivitis is characterized by red, swollen, painful, and bleeding gums. The gums can become so painful that it produces a throbbing sensation. With an increase in hormone levels (estrogen and progesterone), our gums have an exaggerated response to the plaque and tartar build up that accumulate on our teeth. Pregnancy gingivitis tends to affect almost every pregnant woman to some degree and can surface as early as the second month of pregnancy. A simple cleaning, or in some cases, a more thorough cleaning is an easy way to prevent pregnancy gingivitis.
Tooth erosion can be another issue for pregnant women. Vomiting is a common symptom of pregnancy. When a patient vomits, the acid level in their mouth increases. The majority of people want to brush their teeth immediately after. We, however, suggest that out patient’s rinse with a mixture of water and baking soda to reduce the acid content in their mouth prior to brushing. Continually brushing your teeth with a high acid level can cause tooth erosion and decay.
A healthy diet is also essential for a healthy baby and a healthy mother. It’s hard to believe, but your baby’s teeth start to form between the third and sixth month of pregnancy. Vitamins A, C, and D, protein, calcium, and phosphorus are important for your baby to have strong, healthy teeth in the future. Your diet should also include sufficient levels of folic acid to prevent cleft lip and cleft palate for your baby. Who knew that what we eat during pregnancy could affect our baby’s teeth? There is also a “myth” that states that a woman looses a tooth for every pregnancy she has. With good oral hygiene and a healthy diet, a woman should be able to keep all of her teeth during every pregnancy.
So, what if you are already pregnant and having dental issues? It is very important for you to see a dentist as soon as possible. While there are some procedures that are recommended to avoid during pregnancy, there are also some that are safe and common. The ideal time for any dental treatment is the fourth through the sixth month. A cleaning is not only safe, but it is highly recommended during pregnancy. Dental x-rays are not recommended, but if they are necessary, there are safety precautions that we can take to protect you and your baby. Necessary treatments during pregnancy can be completed after consulting with the patient’s obstetrician. The dental professional and the patient’s obstetrician will weigh the risks verses the benefits of treatment and come up with a safe and reliable treatment plan that benefits both you and your baby. Elective procedures should be delayed until after delivery to avoid any complications.
Pregnancy is such a fun and exciting time. With trying to come up with a name, deciding what brand of diapers to buy, and counting down the days until you get to see your little one’s face, we tend to shove our oral health to the back burner. But, keeping your mouth healthy through out your pregnancy not only benefits you, but also that sweet bundle of joy.
Here are a few of our sweet babies. Nothing like a cute baby picture!
Shay's son, Macoy
Shay's daughter, Payton
Jess's older son, Corbin
Jess's younger son, Jackson
Susan's granddaughter, Jensen