By Øyvind Holmstad (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Pregnancy is a beautiful time. You’re developing a brand new human being! There are few things more miraculous. But, just like pregnancy has an impact on your body, your oral health is affected as well. So, how can you keep your teeth and your baby healthy during pregancy? Here are some tips:
Because pregnancy does impact your teeth, it’s best if you start off with the healthest mouth possible. If you’re considering getting pregnant, now is the time to see your dentist and get your teeth and gums healthy. The better off your mouth is when you start, the better it will stay during the pregnancy.
This is also the time to get any cosmetic work done that you’ve been thinking about. Teeth whitening is discouraged during pregnancy, because we don’t know how the whitening gel could affect the baby.
Another procedure to consider would be to get rid of any silver (amalgam) fillings. The mercury in the fillings can travel through the breastmilk to your baby.
Now your pregnant, and your body is going haywire. There are a few things that affect your teeth during this period. One is the hormones. The other is morning sickness. Knowing there will be problems, it wouldn’t hurt to prepare ahead of time. If you have insurance, see if they cover extra cleanings during pregnancy. This will give you a slight advantage.
Morning sickness alone is enough to completely eat away your dental enamel. There’s not much you can do to stop the nausea and vomiting, but you can protect your teeth. After each time you get sick, carefully rinse out your mouth to neutralize the acid. Then after ten to twenty minutes you can brush your teeth. It may help to get a smaller toothbrush with soft bristles to help keep you from gagging too much in the mornings.
The changes to your hormones, in addition to causing you nausea, often leads to pregnancy gingivitis. Your gums can become puffy. A little extra care and flossing will help. It will be useful to use fluoride rinses during this time.
There are certain medications you’ll want to avoid during preganancy, because they can negatively impact your babies developing teeth. Their teeth begin developing three months into your pregancy. You may or may not be showing by then, so make sure your doctor doesn’t give you an antibiotic that could harm your baby.
Though I know we’ve been encouraging extra dental care during the pregnancy, you’ll want to avoid dental appointments during the last six weeks of your term. Because of that, it’s best to schedule an appointment for after your due date.
Photo by Aurimas Mikalauskas
Get in to see your dentist. If you didn’t have an appointment scheduled in advance, call to get one now.
Dental care is completely safe while you’re lactating, so you’ll be able to get any work done that you’ve been putting off.
Other than that, this is the time for you to have fun and enjoy that lovely, new bundle of joy.