Pregnancy is one of the most important experiences that a person can go through. When you think about bringing a new life into this world, terms like excitement and anticipation often come up. However, it’s important to take note of the risks as well so you can proactively prevent them.
When a woman gets pregnant, shifts in hormonal balance occur. This can lead to a higher risk of developing gum disease — something that could pose a serious threat to the health of your unborn child.
This guide is going to brief you on various ways to reduce the risks associated with pregnancy through proper oral hygiene. It will cover each phase including pre-pregnancy, during pregnancy, and after giving birth.
If you’ve ever endured an operation then you’re likely already familiar with all the pre-surgery checks that doctors perform. These may include blood tests, x-rays, and an ECG. For the same reasons, you should get your oral health checked before you get pregnant.
Quite a few things will be achieved through this pre-pregnancy dental checkup. First of all, you can have your teeth professionally cleaned to remove any plaque buildup. The dentist will also be able to examine your gum tissue and gauge its current health.
Any oral health problems that may have posed a risk to your pregnancy can also be treated ahead of time if you catch it early through a pre-pregnancy screening. Most health problems are generally easier to treat prior to pregnancy since there are fewer pharmaceutical restrictions.
While going for dental screenings before you get pregnant is very important, it’s just as crucial that you stay on top of your oral health during the actual term. The great thing is that routine dental care can still be performed throughout the course of your pregnancy.
These include urgent procedures. All that being said, it’s worth noting that elective procedures should be postponed until the mother gives birth to minimize the risk of any complications arising that may compromise the health of the unborn child.
You should always inform your obstetrician before going for a dental checkup or procedure so that they can provide valuable information on what precautions to take as well as any special instructions that may be necessary.
When going for dental checkups during your pregnancy, you should inform your dentist of all the drugs you are currently taking as soon as you arrive. This list should be exhaustive and include all the dosages.
This is not only limited to medications but should also cover prenatal vitamins that your doctor has prescribed. Now would be a great time to pass along medical advice that your doctor may have given you to the dentist.
Depending on the drugs, dosages, and doctor’s advice, your dentist may need to make some minor alterations to your treatment plan. Rest assured that any and all changes are done in an effort to keep you — as well as your baby — safe until the due date arrives.
X-Rays and Pregnancy
Many pregnant mothers worry about getting an x-ray while pregnant. This fear is justified in the case of abdominal x-rays since the beam is directed towards the baby. However, dental x-rays are very safe in comparison.
Any dentist worth their weight in fillings will take the utmost caution during a dental x-ray to ensure that the baby remains protected from any harmful radiation. This is often achieved through shielding your thyroid and abdomen.
Furthermore, x-rays are far safer than they used to be thanks to all the innovations in technology that have allowed us to reap the benefits without suffering from the risks that have long plagued doctors and patients alike.
Many who are expecting a baby use their pregnancy as an excuse to get out of gum exams. We’ll be the first to admit that they aren’t the most fun thing in the world, but they’re actually very important, and this importance is amplified during pregnancy.
As we mentioned earlier, pregnant women are at an increased risk of gum disease due to the fact that their pregnancy has altered the balance of hormones within their bodies. In fact, dentists have even come up with a term for this: pregnancy gingivitis.
In addition to regular exams, you should also be keeping a close eye on your gums while pregnant. If you notice any changes such as swelling, bleeding, tenderness and the like then you should visit your dentist immediately for a formal diagnosis.
Better known as vomiting, emesis is a common occurrence throughout the term of the pregnancy. There are a few dental care tips that you should be aware of when enduring this trial of procreation.
First of all, you should never brush your teeth in an acidic environment. Therefore, we suggest that you wait half an hour after vomiting before brushing. Rinse your mouth out with a water-baking soda mix so that you can neutralize the stomach acid beforehand.
If you don’t clear out the acid before brushing your teeth, you’ll sand off the enamel. You should also use a tongue scraper to remove any remaining acidic traces. These steps will ensure that your teeth stay healthy during pregnancy.
There can be just as much to do after you give birth to your baby, particularly in the department of oral health. If you experienced any dental problems at a certain point in your pregnancy then you should visit your dentist so they can examine the situation and treat persisting issues.
Any procedures that you were forced to postpone due to the pregnancy should be done soon after you give birth. Obviously, you need to take sufficient time for postpartum recovery, but once that’s done, you need to get a jump on overdue treatments.
You may also experience some aberrations in your overall oral health after delivering the baby as your hormones shift their balance once again. Keeping your dentist updated after you give birth is the best way to nip any problems in the bud when they arise.
As you can see, there are quite a few things to keep a lookout for before, during, and after your pregnancy. While it can be scary to run into dental problems while carrying a baby, early detection and proactive treatment can mitigate the risks.
Pre-pregnancy screening, routine checkups, and dental acumen can go a long way in safeguarding the health of your incoming baby — so be responsible on all three.
If you have any questions about maintaining good oral health during your pregnancy then don’t hesitate to call us today at (312) 236-9325! Remember, healthy teeth make for a happier pregnancy!