Preventative dental care is as important as prenatal care for pregnant women. In addition to routine brushing and flossing, your dentist might recommend an over-the-counter mouthwash with fluoride be used at night. Dental products with the ADA Seal are effective and safe to use during pregnancy. Dental care during pregnancy is essential to prevent any type of oral infection. Oral infections have been linked to premature births.
Routine Dental Care
Concerns about the safety of dental procedures are common during pregnancy, if you have concerns or questions talk to your dentist. Be sure to tell your dentist what trimester you are in, about any medications you may be taking, or if you have received special instructions from your obstetrician before having any dental procedures. This is especially important if you have a medical condition or if your pregnancy is high risk.
Hormone level changes during pregnancy can cause changes in the mouth that may require dental care. Your dentist can give you advice about common changes and any changes that require attention. Pregnant women frequently experience pregnancy gingivitis or a mild form of gum disease. Changes in hormone levels can cause swelling of the gums, bleeding of the gums, and increased gum irritation caused by trapped food. Brushing and flossing at least twice daily can help to prevent gingivitis. Untreated gingivitis can lead to serious dental health issues.
Eating a nutritious diet is not only important for the growth of the baby but also for the development of the baby’s teeth which begin forming between the second and third trimester. It is especially important for pregnant women to eat foods high in vitamins A, D, and C and also foods containing protein, calcium and phosphorous. Choose foods and snack that are nutritious and low in sugar.
Protection against Acid Erosion
Women who suffer morning sickness and vomit frequently can protect their teeth from erosion from stomach acid by rinsing their mouth with baking soda and water to neutralize the effects of stomach acid on the teeth.
What about Dental X-rays?
Occasionally dental x-rays may be necessary during pregnancy to detect a dental problem. During the x-ray, the dental hygienist will cover you with a leaded apron to reduce your exposure. Ask your hygienist to cover your throat with a leaded throat collar to prevent the thyroid gland from radiation exposure.
Postnatal Dental Care
Continue practicing a good oral health routine after the birth of the baby. Women who experienced pregnancy gingivitis caused changes in hormone levels should make it a priority to get a dental check up or schedule an appointment for a procedure if it was postponed due to the pregnancy.
Your Baby’s Dental Health
Begin taking care of your baby’s dental health too. Start cleaning the baby’s mouth by gently wiping the gums with a moist washcloth or gauze pad after feeding. Babies should not be put in bed with a bottle of formula or juice, the formula or juice will sit on the newly erupted teeth and could cause tooth decay. If you give the baby a bottle at bedtime only use plain water. Do not share cups, straws, or eating utensils with your child, the bacteria in your mouth that causes tooth decay can be shared.
Finally, children should have their first dental appointment no later than one year of age. To find the right dentist for your child, consider using our Toronto dentist directory. The dentist you select will be able to give you additional information and oral health advice.