Planning a New Addition to Your Family? Why Dental Health is Important
The warmer weather is enough to make anyone feel happy, but cuddling a newborn must be the ultimate feelgood experience. If your thoughts have recently turned towards adding to your family, then you might have already begun to try to get in great shape and perhaps to pay more attention to your diet, but have you thought about your oral health?
If you have poor oral health it can affect your unborn child and poor dental health, in particular, gum disease has been associated with premature birth and low birthweight babies.
During pregnancy, hormonal changes can affect your dental health and it is extremely important to continue with regular check-ups and cleanings. Ideally, you should have a check-up before becoming pregnant, just to ensure you do not have any dental problems that could affect your baby, otherwise, book an appointment as soon as you learn the happy news. Even if you think you are pregnant but aren’t yet sure, it’s important to tell Dr. James Cadigan to ensure you receive the most appropriate treatment. He will also need to know if you are currently taking any medications or have received any special advice from your family doctor, for example, if your pregnancy is likely to be high risk or if you have certain medical conditions. This information will allow Dr. Cadigan to make sure all treatment provided for you is safe for you and your baby and if necessary some treatments may need to be postponed.
How Does Pregnancy Affect Dental Health?
Most women will remain perfectly healthy but hormonal changes will affect your gum health. Increasing the sensitivity of gum tissues to bacteria in your mouth.
Increased sensitivity can cause a condition called pregnancy gingivitis and where your gums become inflamed, swollen and tender. This, in turn, can cause bleeding when you brush or floss. The good news is that pregnancy gingivitis will clear up once your baby is born, but it’s possible you may need more frequent hygiene appointments during pregnancy to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth and to help maintain healthy gums.
Pregnancy tumours can develop on your gums, most frequently during the second trimester. This may sound alarming, but pregnancy tumours are benign and might be caused by excess plaque, resulting in swellings in between your teeth. These swellings may bleed easily and could look rather red and raw. Just like pregnancy gingivitis, they should disappear after the birth.
Increasing Your Risk of Tooth Decay
Pregnancy cravings and morning sickness can take their toll on your teeth. If you do have morning sickness, then your teeth will be exposed to strong stomach acid which can erode your tooth enamel, increasing the risk of cavities. Afterwards, rinse your mouth but wait half an hour before brushing your teeth. This allows acidity levels in your mouth to normalize, reducing the damage to your tooth enamel as it will have a chance to re-harden. It can be a good idea to have a small travel dental kit with you for these kinds of emergencies and which includes a bottle of water, travel toothbrush and toothpaste and perhaps in mouthwash to help you freshen up.
When you visit us here at Chatham Dental Centre, Dr. Cadigan will ensure you receive the most appropriate dental treatment right throughout your pregnancy so that you can greet your new baby with a beautifully healthy smile. Please request an appointment and we’ll get back to you quickly to schedule one.