Hopefully, you’ve been seeing the dentist on a regular basis, and so when you find out that you’re pregnant, you don’t have any looming dental problems on the horizon. But what if this isn’t the case? What can you do to ensure good dental health while you’re pregnant?
Due to the fluctuating hormones in a woman’s body during pregnancy, good oral hygiene during this time is more important than ever, as those hormones can wreak havoc on one’s teeth and lead to expensive dental work later on. However, there are a number of things that pregnant women can do to insure that any dental problems that result from being pregnant are not that serious.
First of all, a balanced and nutritious diet with sufficient protein, calcium, and vitamins – particularly vitamins A, C, and D – is critical. All of these elements are important for building strong tooth and bone health, and for maintaining a healthy body in which bacteria are not as likely to flourish.
In addition to diet, the importance of maintaining a good oral hygiene regimen cannot be overstated. This includes brushing one’s teeth twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and using an antibacterial mouthwash that will aid in destroying the bacteria that can contribute to gingivitis.
As for dental care, it’s generally considered to be best to avoid major dental procedures or reconstruction until after the baby is born. In addition, one should try to avoid visits to the dentist during the first trimester as well as during the last half of the third trimester. This is because early on in a pregnancy, the fetus is highly sensitive to any kind of outside influences while its organs are still in an early stage of development. And in the third trimester, there is a risk of premature delivery due to the sensitivity of the uterus, as well as the potential pressure that can be placed on large blood vessels due to one’s position in the dentist’s chair. Furthermore, that same position can be uncomfortable for a woman in the later stages of pregnancy.
If you have an emergency dental situation, consult with your obstetrician to determine the safest course to take. You should also consult with your doctor if any medications are indicated by your dentist, as it’s generally better to avoid extraneous medications during pregnancy. Similarly, x-rays are best avoided until after the baby is delivered, to avoid the development of any potential complications or issues, no matter how remote the chances of such a possibility.
While it may seem as if oral hygiene care is too much for the pregnant woman to think about, following the simple steps above can help prevent even greater problems later on, and thus are well worth the minimal time commitment they require.