Brushing up on oral health care
Nothing to be afraid of “It’s perfectly safe to have […]
Nothing to be afraid of
“It’s perfectly safe to have treatment during your pregnancy,” says Sally Cram, DDS, PC, spokesperson and consumer advisor for the American Dental Association (ADA) and periodontist in Washington, D.C. In fact, keeping up with your biannual dental exams is highly recommended for the health of both you and your baby-to-be. Just be sure to let your dentist know you’re expecting. Practitioners often schedule treatments during the second and third trimesters and avoid X-rays for maximum safety, but local anesthetics and other medications are generally considered safe.
Facing the consequences
Refraining from dental treatment could cause serious complications. Due to heightened levels of hormones, which react more highly to the plaque and bacteria around the teeth, moms-to-be are prone to pregnancy gingivitis, or chronic irritation and bleeding of the gums. Gingivitis is an infection that can spread through your bloodstream, which means it can cross the placenta and affect your child, too. “There are some studies showing that women with chronic, untreated gum disease during pregnancy are more likely to have a preterm baby,” warns Cram.
“Anything you can do to make sure that you’re healthy is going to make sure that your child is healthy, too,” reminds Cram. Along with regular dentist visits, be sure to floss daily and use a fluoride toothpaste to help strengthen your teeth. If you’re battling morning sickness, don’t brush immediately after getting sick. The stomach acid can inflame the gums and cause tooth decay, and brushing can cause further irritation and erosion of the enamel. It’s best to rinse with water instead.