Pregnancy is a special time of your life that should be cherished. However, there are some special precautions to take during this extraordinary time of your life to ensure the whole pregnancy passes smoothly for both you and the baby.
With the information overload about what you should and shouldnt do during this time, you can easily place your oral health on the backburner. Remember to schedule your regular dental check-ups during pregnancy as well.
Here is a complete guide to what to expect and what to do regarding your dental care when you are pregnant.
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5 things that you may experience during pregnancy:
- Roughly 80% of pregnant women develop pregnancy gingivitis in their second or third trimester. Pregnancy hormones are the culprit. They make your gums more prone to inflammation and bleeding. If youve experienced gingivitis before pregnancy, you will find it may worsen while pregnant. Good oral hygiene includes twice daily brushing and flossing to remove plaque build-up which may irritate your sensitive gums. If you suspect gingivitis, see your dentist for treatment.
- Pregnancy hormones are responsible for loosening the ligaments in your body in preparation for childbirth. This may cause you to experience loose teeth. If you are worried about teeth that dont feel secure, consult your dentist. Although there is not normally any tooth loss during pregnancy, your dentist can rule out any complications.
- Pregnancy, especially in the first trimester, is often accompanied with the dreaded morning sickness. Frequent vomiting can cause tooth erosion because of the acidic contents of the stomach coming into regular contact with tooth enamel. The best way to deal with this is to rinse your mouth out thoroughly with water and spit it out. You can also rinse your mouth with a commercial mouthwash that has been diluted. You can also make a mixture of one glass of water and 1 teaspoon of baking soda to use as a mouth rinse. Rinsing your mouth will neutralise any acid on your teeth. Wait about half an hour before brushing your teeth to prevent the acids from the stomach eroding the teeth.
- The very act of brushing your teeth may even make you feel like gagging. The idea of placing a toothbrush into your mouth could possibly be the worst thing to you at this time. It might help to change your toothpaste flavour to a blander tasting one, use a different sized toothbrush or even brushing your teeth at a time of day when youre not quite so nauseous and tired. Some women find chewing sugar-free gum controls their nausea and neutralises the acid. Find out what suits you. However, dont skip any of your oral hygiene steps because youre more vulnerable now to cavities and gingivitis. If youre feeling too tired to brush your teeth, do it at a time of day when youre feeling more energetic.
- Many women claim that their diet changed during pregnancy. You may be one of them and find that youre craving foods that you previously hated. Its fine to indulge in a few cravings but ensure youre still eating a balanced and healthy diet to guarantee that baby is getting all the essential nutrients for optimum growth and development. Include dairy products such as yogurt in your diet to ensure babys bones and teeth are developing properly.
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Your doctor will recommend a good pregnancy supplement to prevent certain birth defects due to vitamin deficiencies. Avoid sugary snacks and drinks which will increase the chances of developing cavities.
What happens if you need a dental procedure?
- If your dentist recommends a procedure, make sure s/he is aware of your pregnancy. If its early days and you only suspect that youre pregnant, be sure to mention it. He also needs to know how far along you are and if you have any special precautions to take, as advised by your doctor. Local anaesthetics used in dental procedures are safe for use in pregnancy with no adverse effects on the mother or the baby.
- Make sure your dentist he is aware of any medication youre taking, if you have a high-risk pregnancy or if you have any other medical condition. This will help the dentist make a safe treatment recommendation in terms of the procedure and the medications required afterwards, like any antibiotics or painkillers.
- X-rays can be taken when youre pregnant. The new technology used in oral x-rays are very advanced and safe. You will wear a special leaded apron to protect you and the baby from the X-rays.
- Essential dental procedures like treating cavities should be carried out to keep you healthy and free of infection. Emergencies can also be dealt with by your dentist who is trained to treat pregnant patients.
However, cosmetic procedures can wait until the baby is born so that you are not putting the pregnancy at any unnecessary risk.
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