Finding out you are going to have a baby is very exciting – but it can also be a bit stressful. If you are like most expectant mothers, you will be anxious to learn about everything you can do to keep yourself and your child healthy. In fact, once your pregnancy is confirmed, you will probably be focused on your health more than ever before.
Your doctor will work with you to develop a plan to help ensure a healthy pregnancy. This plan will likely include specific recommendations like eating a healthy diet, taking prenatal vitamins, and adhering to a sensible exercise regime. Nevertheless, she may not address the importance of your oral health and the effect it can have on your pregnancy – or conversely, how your pregnancy can impact your oral health.
Dr. Brian Homann, DDS, understands the interdependent relationship between oral health and pregnancy. That is why he has put together an overview of what to keep in mind, from a dental perspective, as you prepare for your pregnancy.
How Your Teeth and Gums Can be Affected by Your Pregnancy
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), somewhere between 60% and 75% of pregnant women will develop pregnancy gingivitis, a mild form of periodontal disease. Due to hormonal fluctuations and morning sickness, pregnant women are significantly more likely to develop gum disease than the average person.
Nevertheless, the likelihood of experiencing gingivitis can be minimized by sticking to a meticulous oral hygiene routine that includes brushing with a fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes twice a day. It is also important to brush at a 45 degree angle to your teeth, floss each day, and rinse your mouth thoroughly after experiencing a bout of morning sickness.
How Your Pregnancy is Affected by Your Oral Health
The importance of maintaining healthy teeth and gums throughout your pregnancy should not be underestimated. As stated above, mild gingivitis, characterized by red, swollen, or bleeding gums, can easily develop during pregnancy. However, if left untreated, this relatively mild condition can progress to periodontitis, which is significantly more serious.
In addition to causing severe bacterial infection which can result in bone and tooth loss, periodontitis is associated with low birth weight and premature birth. In fact, when cavity-causing bacteria reach high levels, even absent gingivitis and periodontitis, these harmful bacteria can travel to the baby through the mother’s bloodstream. This situation is not just an immediate health threat, but it also raises the risk for cavities and tooth decay for the developing child.
If you already suffer from gingivitis or periodontitis, now is the time to reach out to a knowledgeable dentist in order to develop a treatment plan that is compatible with your pregnancy. Quality care, provided by a dental professional, will help reduce the likelihood of complications that could compromise your health or the health of your unborn baby.
Dental X-Rays for Pregnant Women
While it is a long-standing protocol for pregnant women to avoid unnecessary x-rays, if an expectant mother is suffering from an acute dental issue, dental x-rays may be vital to successful diagnosis and treatment. Fortunately, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), pregnant patients can safely receive dental x-rays as long as proper shielding is utilized.
General Dentistry in Wooddale
While it is important to follow a meticulous oral hygiene routine at all times, it is especially vital when you are pregnant. Consciously following excellent oral hygiene practices should be a part of any prenatal care routine. Additionally, pregnant women who do not have a regular dentist should seek a reliable source for general dental care near Wooddale.
Selecting the right dentist means finding a dental service provider who has state-of-the-art equipment and a reputation for providing excellent care and quality dental treatments. It is also important to choose a practitioner who makes it easy to reach out to his or her staff with specific questions or concerns.
Brian Homann, DDS
Making your dental health a priority during your pregnancy will help to protect both you and your baby from unnecessary health risks and complications. Additionally, taking just a few minutes each day to care for your teeth and gums can make an enormous difference in your overall health.
Whether you are in need of extensive dental work, or you simply want to make sure your smile remains healthy and beautiful for many years to come, we invite you to reach out to us at Brian Homann, DDS. We are committed to your long term dental health and providing all of our valued patients with the highest quality dental care available, including sedation dentistry in Wood Dale. We invite you to call and book your appointment today!