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Taking Care of Your Teeth: Pregnancy and Oral Health

August 31, 2012

You’re watching your diet, managing your stress, and keeping appointments with your ob/gyn. But most pregnant women don’t realize that their teeth and gums can be affected by pregnancy and have a real impact on their wellness and their baby’s health! Read on to learn about the importance of keeping your mouth healthy before and during pregnancy.

If you’re currently trying to conceive, now is a great time to visit your dentist to get a cleaning, have a periodontal check-up, and take care of any major issues before you get pregnant. While procedures such as root canals, extractions, and even fillings are possible during pregnancy, they are not advisable. If you do find that you need a root canal or any other major dental work, get it taken care of before getting pregnant. Antibiotics, x-rays, and anesthesia are much less risky when you’re not expecting.

But once you’re pregnant, there’s no need to avoid the dentist. Periodontal check-ups and teeth cleanings are actually recommended, and are most comfortable during the second trimester. Pregnancy can actually put you at an increased risk for gingivitis, so having your oral health evaluated during pregnancy is a great idea.

And at home, remember to brush twice per day and floss once per day. You can brush with a soft-bristled brush to avoid irritating sensitive gums, and flossing is important for preventing gum disease. Mouthwash that prevents gingivitis is also advisable. If morning sickness makes it difficult for you to brush, try a bland, baking soda-based toothpaste that won’t provoke nausea.

If any dental emergencies do arise during pregnancy, consult with your ob/gyn and your dentist. Some issues that may be considered emergencies when you’re not pregnant can wait for treatment until after you’ve given birth, and palliative measures may be taken to make the situation bearable for the duration of your term. If x-rays or antibiotics do become necessary, your dentist can make sure your belly is protected, and can work with your ob/gyn to ensure that antibiotics are used safely. Consulting your doctor and your dentist in conjunction is your best bet when dental work becomes a priority!

Photography courtesy of Flickr.

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