Dental Health During Pregnancy
Spring is a great time to talk about dental health during pregnancy, especially during the month of May when we focus on Moms and Moms-to-be. As a family oriented practice, we love seeing children here at Chatham Dental Centre, but a healthy baby needs a healthy mother.
Most women know they need to look after themselves during pregnancy, but pregnancy places considerable physicals demands on the body, which if combined with nausea can make it tricky to maintain good dental health. Recent studies have found poor dental health, in particular gum disease may be associated with preterm births and low birth weight babies. The hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy can affect dental health, so it is important to take care of your teeth and gums as well as your general health.
How Do Hormonal Changes Affect Dental Health?
During pregnancy, levels of progesterone are elevated and this has the effect of increasing gum sensitivity towards the bacteria that can cause gum disease. You are more at risk of developing this condition, called pregnancy gingivitis between the second and eighth months of pregnancy. It can cause your gums to become inflamed, red and tender and to bleed more easily. The risk is worsened if you already have signs of gum disease.
If You Can, Book a Checkup Before Pregnancy
Ideally, it is a great idea to book a checkup with Dr. James Cadigan before you get pregnant. A visit to Chatham Dental Centre will allow Dr. Cadigan to examine your mouth and to treat any dental diseases. If this isn’t possible, then please book an appointment soon after you learn the happy news. It is still possible to provide routine dental care during your pregnancy and Dr. Cadigan will make sure any treatment given will be safe for you and your baby.
If Dr. Cadigan thinks your risk of pregnancy gingivitis is a bit higher, or if you do have signs of periodontal disease, he may suggest you book more frequent hygiene appointments during your pregnancy. By regularly removing the bacteria that cause the infection and inflammation, we can reduce the risk of gum disease affecting your pregnancy.
Dealing with Morning Sickness
If you have morning sickness, it can be helpful to keep a small dental kit with you to freshen up afterwards. Pack a toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste and a small bottle of water, and it can be nice to have a travel-sized bottle of mouthwash with you. If possible, rinse your mouth immediately afterwards, but try to wait half an hour before brushing. This gives the acidity levels in your mouth a chance to normalise, reducing the damage to your teeth.
Coping with Pregnancy Cravings
Pregnancy cravings are very common, but frequently snacking on sugary or starchy foods does increase the risk of tooth decay. Try to limit your snacks or if your cravings allow it, choose more tooth friendly options such as fresh fruit and veggies or hard cheese.
Dispelling the Myth of Calcium
One common myth is that an unborn child can somehow take calcium from your teeth, leading to them becoming weaker during pregnancy. This cannot happen as once your teeth have developed they do not change. However, you do need to make sure your diet contains plenty of calcium as your bones are continually remodelling and if your baby needs more calcium than your diet can provide, it would be derived from the calcium stored in your bones.
Last but not least, we look forward to welcoming your baby during their first dental visit to Chatham Dental Centre.