Over the last few years, several studies have shown that maintaining good oral health during pregnancy is even more important than ever for the health of mother, and her baby. The oral health of new mothers can also affect the oral health of their newly born babies and very young children. Pregnancy affects nearly every aspect of a woman’s life, including her oral health. You may think of your oral health as just one more thing to worry about, but taking care of your mouth and teeth is important during pregnancy. You can easily find a dentist in your area and get proper dental care during the pregnancy period.
Good oral health can help reduce the risk of premature birth
With pregnancy, many hormonal changes take place in a woman’s body, including her mouth. In certain cases, this can increase the risk of developing red, swollen or bleeding gums, commonly referred to as pregnancy gingivitis. If untreated, this condition could lead to the more severe gum disease periodontitis.
According to the March of Dimes, preterm birth is a serious health problem and is the leading cause of death among newborns in the United States. Each year more than 540,000 babies are born prematurely, and their numbers are on the rise. Babies who survive an early birth face a lifetime of possible health challenges, so indeed an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Be sure to let your dentist know you’re pregnant when you schedule your appointment. It’s best to schedule your dental visit during the fourth to sixth month of your pregnancy. This is because the first three months of pregnancy are thought to be of greatest importance in your child’s development. During the last trimester, stresses associated with dental visits can increase the incidence of prenatal complications.
Oral health may be negatively affected by pregnancy
According to Dr. Gina Thornton-Evans at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women who are planning to become pregnant should visit their dentist and obtain preventive, or treatment-related dental care. Like everyone else, pregnant women should practice good daily oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing teeth, eating healthy foods, and stop smoking. If teeth are not well cared for during pregnancy, there is a higher risk of developing periodontal disease and losing teeth later in life.
Dental professionals maintain that it is safe to perform dental care during pregnancy. In case you need to get dental X-rays, every precaution will be taken to minimize radiation exposure. While the idea that each baby will cost a woman a tooth is a myth, pregnancy can and does affect your teeth. Pregnant mothers need to diligently look after their dental hygiene during pregnancy. The child’s oral health may also be affected by the mother’s oral health.
Research shows that mothers can pass on the bacteria, which causes early childhood tooth decay, to their babies and children. Early childhood caries is the most common disease among children, affecting around 20 percent of 3-year-olds in the United States. Maintaining good oral health as a new mother will help prevent early childhood caries in the baby and young child.
Keeping teeth and gums healthy during pregnancy
There are many things that you can do to ensure the health of your teeth and gums during your pregnancy. These include:
*Brush twice and floss once daily.
*Eat a healthy diet for increase your dietary intake of Vitamins A, C and D and foods rich in calcium, protein and phosphorous. Your baby’s teeth begin to develop during the second trimester of your pregnancy, Vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to tooth enamel defects in developing teeth, making your child far more susceptible to tooth decay.
*If you experience morning (or night) sickness, flush your mouth out with water.
*Resolve any necessary dental condition during the second trimester, if possible, in order to avoid the build up of bacteria and infection; leave any elective procedure until after the baby is born. Steps to ensure a healthy baby
The Child Oral Health Resource Center has issued the following recommendations regarding how to take care of dental health during pregnancy.
* Brushing, flossing, eating healthy foods are essential for maintaining a healthy mouth.
* Get a dental checkup. It is safe to have dental care when you are pregnant. It should not be put off until after the baby is born.
* Tell the dental office staff that you are pregnant and your due date. This will help the dental team keep you safe and comfortable.
*The dental team may recommend rinses with fluoride or chewing gum with xylitol, which can help reduce bacteria that can cause tooth decay and gingivitis.
* Talk to your doctor if you need help getting dental care or making an appointment.
We will discuss more about the dental health of mothers, babies and children future articles. Please consult your dentist for more details & specific medications for maintaining good oral health. Here is a free online tool to find a dentist in your area http://www.freedentistfinder.com