04 Oct The Importance of Dental Care During Pregnancy
First-time Moms may have questions about the safety of going to the dentist while pregnant. Understandably, your priority is to make sure the baby will be safe and secure. At Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert, AZ, we do family dentistry so we understand your concerns. And we want you to know, your safety and the safety of your baby during pregnancy are our priorities.
Hormonal Changes and Your Gums
It may surprise you to know that dental cleanings during your pregnancy are vital for your health as a mother whose body is going through hormonal changes. As you’re probably aware, your hormone levels during pregnancy will rise as part of your body’s nurturing of the baby in your womb, and in preparation for the birthing process. For your gums, the increase of hormonal levels can mean swelling, bleeding, and irritation due to food becoming trapped in your gums. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the changes in your hormones during pregnancy “exaggerate the response to bacteria in the gum tissue.” The result can be an inclination to gingivitis.
The ADA affirms that dental cleanings and annual exams during pregnancy are entirely safe, and even more essential because of the greater possibility of bacteria and plaque leading to gingivitis. So be sure to schedule and follow through with your normal biannual cleanings during your pregnancy.
Through numerous studies, gum disease has been linked to pre-term births and low birthweight babies. For this reason, the American Pregnancy Association recommends carrying through with dental work like filling cavities and crowns, in order to lessen the chance of infection. If possible, they suggest having that work done during the second trimester of the pregnancy, since it may be hard to lie on your back during the third trimester. Of course, the safest path of action is to postpone all unnecessary dental work until after the baby is born, unless delaying it allows infection to become established.
Oral Hygiene is Essential
If you experience cravings and snack more during pregnancy, or if you experience vomiting as part of morning sickness, these can contribute to an increased probability of dental caries (aka cavities).
Since pregnancy can mean a greater risk of gingivitis and cavities, your at-home oral hygiene is just as important as scheduling two biannual professional cleanings. That hygiene routine should include brushing twice each day for two minutes each time (click on this link for proper brushing techniques), and flossing once each day. For brushing, use a soft-bristled brush and a toothpaste containing fluoride.
Talk To Us
If you are pregnant, please let our offices know when you’re scheduling an appointment. And if you have any questions about the best approach to dental care during your pregnancy, please feel free to discuss it with our staff at Lifetime Family Dental. After all, Family is our middle name and we’re all about family dentistry in Gilbert, AZ. We care about seeing that you and your growing family are safe and healthy, through your pregnancy and beyond.