Pregnancy is a time of joy, celebration and getting ready for your new little one to arrive. However, pregnancy can increase the risk of oral health problems, including gum disease. That’s why oral health is an essential part of prenatal care.
Did you know that a pregnant woman’s oral health status is a strong indicator of her unborn child’s? Just like women need to keep a close watch on their health during their pregnancy, oral health should be closely monitored. Continue reading to learn more about how to keep teeth and gums healthy during pregnancy.
BRUSH YOUR TEETH PROPERLY
Let’s start with the basics – brushing. It may not seem like it, but there is a right and wrong way to brush your teeth. If you are unsure about what type of toothbrush you should use, we recommend looking for a soft-bristled toothbrush as it won’t be abrasive to the enamel on your teeth. Additionally, you want to find a toothbrush with a toothbrush head that fits comfortably in your mouth.
Remember, you should replace your toothbrush at least three times per year; you’ll know it’s time when the bristles begin to fray.
To properly brush your teeth:
- At a 45-degree angle, move your toothbrush in short, back and forth circles.
- Make sure you clean the internal and external surfaces of your teeth.
- Avoid eating for 30-minutes after brushing your teeth.
Not only is brushing your teeth important, but we recommend flossing daily, too! Effectively flossing can help remove plaque and any food that has become stuck between your teeth. After flossing, we recommend rinsing your mouth.
We say it all the time, but it always remains the same. It’s essential, especially for pregnant women, to schedule regular dental checkups. Every six months is what is typically recommended, but for pregnant women, you should visit your dentist at least once throughout the nine-month period (particularly after the first trimester). Pregnant women are at a higher risk for gum issues, inflammation and bleeding, so it is important to monitor those frequently throughout the pregnancy.
If dental work needs to be done, it is best to have it done after the first trimester, or if it can wait, after the baby is born, however, routine dental care is extremely low-risk for both the mother and the baby. If you are planning to get pregnant, it is recommended to schedule an appointment or have had a recent checkup prior to conceiving.
KNOW THE SIGNS
There is a correlation between poor oral care in the expectant mother and a higher risk of periodontal disease in her child. And almost 75 percent of pregnant women have gingivitis, an early stage of periodontal disease that occurs when the gums become red and swollen from inflammation. This is caused and aggravated by changing hormones during pregnancy. If gingivitis is not treated, this can result in gum aggravation and infection.
Sensitive and bleeding gums are the first sign of oral health issues during pregnancy. Nausea and vomiting can also have an impact on your teeth and enamel.
Expectant mothers should watch for the following signs:
- Increase in swelling and bleeding in the gums, beyond what is normal
- Pain when eating and chewing
- Constant bad breath
- Deep pockets between the teeth and gums
- Receding gums
Call your dentist immediately if you are expecting any of the signs listed above. It is to be reminded that routine dental checkups during pregnancy are normal and safe, and just because you are pregnant, it should not stop you from visiting the dentist. It is also important to let your dentist know as soon as you are pregnant, as dental x-rays may not be safe for the baby.
ORAL HEALTH AND PREGNANCY | THE LANDING DENTAL SPA
At The Landing Dental Spa, we know you’re experiencing a lot of changes with your pregnancy. That’s one reason why we offer our relaxing, spa-like atmosphere. We designed our space to help our patients feel as calm as possible while being treated. While you are waiting for your appointment, unwind in the waiting room by the fireplace or grab something to drink from our full coffee bar, where we provide a variety of beverages, including coffee, tea and water. We also offer various complimentary amenities, such as wifi, heated and massage dental chairs, soothing spa music, heated neck pillows, warm cloths to freshen up and more – which all will help your appointment be a more enjoyable experience!
We’d also love to care for your little ones after they are born! It is recommended your child visits the dentist within six months of the time a tooth comes in, or once they turn a year old, whichever happens first.
Most importantly, make sure to schedule a checkup and visit the dentist while pregnant, as it is not only important to your health, but your child’s as well.
If you would like to make an appointment with us, please give us a call at 304-594-2200 or use our online contact form. We look forward to seeing you soon!