Dental Health and Pregnancy

Pregnancy and Dental Health

The Woodlands, TX and the surrounding areas are thriving, booming communities. Many families live here and many more are moving in at a high rate. With great schools, churches, parks and activities, families are growing bigger which means more wives are becoming moms and more moms are having second and third children. During pregnancy, we control what we eat and drink, the kinds of medications we take and we try to limit external influences which may affect the pregnancy in some negative way.

If you are pregnant or hope to be pregnant in the future, even something as simple as dental cleaning can be a source of stress and anxiety. Below we discuss a few of the conditions and questions that pop up from time to time regarding pregnancy and dental health.

Pregnancy Gingivitis
Many women, at some point in a pregnancy, will experience what we call ‘pregnancy gingivitis’. It’s a condition with many symptoms of typical gingivitis. Gums look redder, they may bleed when brushing. In some extreme cases, the swelling and bleeding can become quite severe.

An increase in hormone levels during pregnancy may be partly responsible. Women who are pregnant can have 10 times the levels of progesterone which may encourage growth of the bacteria responsible for gingivitis.

While this condition may not be 100% preventable there are steps you can take to minimize the effects:

  • Practice good oral hygiene.
  • Brush at least twice a day
  • Floss daily
  • Use an anti-microbial mouthwash to help control any gum inflammation
  • Have your dentist check the health of your gums and teeth while pregnant.

Dental Care While Pregnant
Since you are taking care of your body and the developing baby you are carrying, it is important you take measures to ensure optimum health. Just as with your physical health, your overall dental health and the health of your baby can benefit from a well balanced diet. Eat plenty of protein, calcium and foods rich in vitamins A, C and D. Whole foods are always best. Fresh fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber and full of nutrients should always be part of an overall healthy lifestyle. Stay away from heavily processed foods that can get stuck in your teeth and practice good oral hygiene as listed above.

Can I Visit The Dentist While Pregnant?
Yes, however it is suggested that, if you are planning your pregnancy, you visit the dentist before getting pregnant. During the first and third trimester, the developing fetus is more susceptible to external influences and we want to minimize any risks.

During your pregnancy, the second trimester is the best time to come in for routine cleanings. You should try to avoid any major procedures during the length of the pregnancy in order to reduce any external stresses to your body and your baby.

What about X-Rays?
Technological advances have allowed us to take dental x-rays with much less exposure to radiation. Lead aprons are very good at blocking you and your baby from any radiation exposure. Digital x-rays, like we use here at Woodlands Family Dental, use much less radiation and are much safer than older technologies that still use film.

We suggest any x-rays be avoided during the first trimester unless they are needed for diagnosis or treatment that can’t wait until after the birth of your baby. Once you are past the first trimester, however, any chance of negative results from an X-ray are reduced significantly.

The most important thing you can do for your dental health while pregnant is talk to your dentist. They will be able to address any concerns you may have and provide you with helpful information as you wait with joyful expectancy for a new baby boy or girl.

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