Pregnancy can be a joyous but stressful time, with many first time mothers unsure of what they should or shouldn't do to keep their growing baby healthy. Dental care is no exception. Fortunately, many dental procedures, including restorative dentistry treatments, are safe for expectant mothers. In fact, maintaining a healthy smile is not only best for pregnant patients, it's also important to fetal health. You can help maintain a healthy smile during pregnancy with these tips from Orland Park dentist Kenneth W. Coffey.
Dental Care during Pregnancy
With so many things to be concerned about during pregnancy, it may be easy to neglect oral health. However, practicing good oral hygiene is more important than ever when expecting. This is because pregnancy causes hormonal changes, which can increase the risk of gum disease. Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gums that can spread to the heart via the bloodstream; it has been linked to an increased risk of delivering prematurely. Practicing these dental care tips can help prevent gum disease and protect the teeth from damage:
- Floss daily: Flossing is one of the most effective ways to prevent gum disease and tooth decay. Flossing should be done at least once a day, every day. When flossing, be sure to sweep the floss up and down each side of each tooth and as far along the gum line as possible.
- Brush your teeth twice a day: Brushing at least twice a day is another important way to prevent gum disease and tooth decay. Don't rush when brushing your teeth. Be sure to brush for a full two minutes every time you brush your teeth. Also, be sure to brush the back teeth and gum line.
- Protect your teeth from morning sickness: Pregnant women who experience morning sickness should rinse their mouths thoroughly with water to help remove and neutralize stomach acid in vomit.
- See your dentist for regular exams and cleanings: Regular dental exams and professional cleanings should not be skipped during pregnancy, but are best scheduled during the second trimester. This is because morning sickness is usually not an issue by the second trimester, and expectant mothers are generally able to sit comfortably for an extended period at this time.
- Seek treatment for dental emergencies: Dental emergencies, like tooth decay, chipped teeth, and root canal infections should be treated, even during pregnancy. Leaving such dental issues untreated can lead to more dental damage and puts oral health at risk.
- Leave cosmetic dental treatments for after pregnancy: Although cosmetic dental treatments have not been linked to fetal health issues, it's best to leave these for after pregnancy.
- Limit dental X-rays: Dental X-rays use very low levels of radiation, and extra precautions can be taken when taking dental X-rays for pregnant women. However, it's best to limit exposure. Dental X-rays should only be done in emergency situations.
Schedule a Consultation
Ensure a healthy smile during pregnancy. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Coffey today.