At our Erie family dentistry, our team of dentists at Impressions Dental often here from expectant patients wanting to know more about how to maintain their oral health during pregnancy.
When it comes to receiving dental care during a pregnancy, expectant mothers can become easily confused about what type of care is safe due to a lot of misinformation that has spread about the subject. This leads many pregnant patients to avoid dental care during their pregnancy out of concern for the health of their baby. Unfortunately, by avoiding the dental care they need, expectant mothers can actually end up hurting their pregnancy in the end.
To help keep you and your baby safe during pregnancy, here is what our doctors recommend to expectant mothers at our Erie family dentistry.
Continue Brushing and Flossing Daily
The importance of brushing and flossing to our oral health can’t be understated. These daily habits help to remove plaque and food particles that remain in the mouth after eating from the surface of our teeth and along the gum line. However, these daily habits become even more important when pregnant.
Hormonal changes that occur in the body during pregnancy cause the gums to react differently to oral plaque. As a result, pregnant women have a significant risk for developing early stage gum disease, a condition commonly referred to as pregnancy gingivitis. In fact, nearly half of all pregnant women will develop gingivitis during their pregnancy, typically between the second to eighth month.
While the term pregnancy gingivitis may suggest that the disease will go away after delivery, studies have found that’s just not the case. One recent study found that over 50 percent of women who developed gingivitis during their pregnancy still suffered from the disease nearly two years after giving birth.
Not only can gingivitis impact the mother’s health, it can also affect delivery and the baby’s health as well. Studies have also found that gum disease increases the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, and poor oral health in babies.
Gum disease offers a much bigger concern to a woman’s health than what many may initially believe. That’s why it’s important for pregnant women to take the necessary steps to prevent and treat gingivitis before the condition has a chance to worsen and impact a baby’s health.
Which leads us to our next bit of advice…
Don’t Stop Scheduling Appointments to Our Erie Family Dentistry
The most damaging bit of misinformation that surrounds dentistry during pregnancy is the incorrect notion that dental care can be dangerous to the baby. In reality, the opposite is actually true. Most forms of dental care, especially routine exams and cleanings, pose no threat to a woman who’s having a normal pregnancy. (Women with an at-risk pregnancy should consult their obstetrician before scheduling care.)
While treatment remains safe during any point in a woman’s pregnancy, it’s recommended that expectant patients schedule as much care as possible during the second trimester. Treatment during the first trimester can prevent problems due to an increased gag reflex, while patients may feel uncomfortable when reclined in a dental chair during their third trimester.
Depending on the state of a patient’s oral health, our dentists may recommend they receive treatment more regularly, especially if gingivitis has already developed. With regular dental care, it becomes far easier for a woman to gain better control over their oral health to ensure a safer, healthier pregnancy occurs.
Eat a Balanced Diet
While eating a nutritious diet already plays an important role in helping women maintain a healthy pregnancy, diet can also help to protect a woman’s oral health as well. While food cravings and snacking are a common part of pregnancy, it’s still important for expectant mothers to be aware of what they decide to eat.
Since pregnancy already increases the risk for poor oral health, snacking on sugary treats throughout the day can pose an even bigger problem than normal. If possible, pregnant patients should try to avoid snacking on sugary foods in favor for more fresh fruits and vegetables.
At Our Erie Family Dentistry, We’re Here to Help
Dental care plays an important role in helping to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring your oral health while pregnant. By scheduling regular dental exams and cleanings throughout your pregnancy, you can help to improve and protect your oral health, and your baby. Now that’s something worth smiling about.