The Importance Of Dental Care During Pregnancy
Pregnancy and dental care aren’t often mentioned in the same breath, but the truth is that oral hygiene is an important aspect of prenatal health, both for the expecting mother and the child. Your child may not have visible teeth when they are born, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t already started to form. And the habits and routines of a pregnant mother can impact the future dental development of your child, so it’s never too early to take oral care into consideration.
This is not to mention the importance of pregnant woman to maintain dental hygiene in their own mouth. Tooth decay and infections can negatively impact the health of an embryo, and it is highly recommended that expecting mothers make at least one visit to the dentist before giving birth. This is definitely a topic you should bring up with your dentist or obstetrician as soon as you discover you are pregnant.
At Jody Jones, DDS, we make it a priority to provide excellent and comprehensive dental care to families in the Nashville region. This especially pertains to new and expecting mothers, who may have a lot of questions about how to care for the dental needs of their newborn children.
Is it safe to go to the dentist during pregnancy?
Many women want to know if it’s safe to visit the dentist while they are pregnant. The answer is that not only is it safe (no matter what trimester you’re in), it’s highly recommended that you do so, both for yourself and the health of your child. But you should also let your dentist know you are pregnant before making a visit, as this may influence the types of treatments you receive and when they schedule your next appointment.
The closer they get to the end of their pregnancy, the more concerned women tend to be about what is and isn’t safe for their baby, and this certainly applies to dental care. But the truth is that the biggest struggle women in the third trimester are likely to have when visiting the dentist is getting comfortable in the chair. The fact is that not only is it completely safe, but maintaining good dental hygiene is even more important for pregnant women, because of the negative impact that tooth infections and gum disease can have on their unborn child.
As for major dental work, such as oral surgery or orthodontics, we generally recommend that mothers-to-be should consider waiting until after giving birth when it comes to elective procedures. However, if there is any risk to your own health or the health of your child, then you should go ahead and get it taken care of as soon as possible.
The Link Between Oral Hygiene And Healthy Pregnancy
While it’s only natural that mothers have an innate concern for their unborn children, when it comes to oral hygiene, it can actually be detrimental to your child’s health if you allow problems to fester. Because there is a direct link between the condition of your teeth and the health of your embryo, it should be standard practice to see your dentist as part of your prenatal routine.
In fact, studies show that there is a direct link between gum disease in pregnant women and premature births, one-fifth of which are suspected to be at least partially caused by periodontal disease in the expecting mother. One of the primary things your dentist will look for when you schedule an appointment after learning of your pregnancy is any sign of gum disease that could negatively impact your child’s health and well being.
Another area that pregnant women need to be aware of is that vomiting can have a particularly harsh impact on your teeth. Nausea is an unwanted part of pregnancy for many women, and the vomiting it causes can often be inevitable. The natural response after throwing up is to immediately go and brush your teeth. However, this is a mistake, as brushing right after vomiting or acid reflex can cause damage to your enamel, increasing the chance of infection. Instead, you should rinse out your mouth thoroughly and use a mouthwash.
How To Ensure Optimal Tooth Development While Pregnant
One aspect of prenatal dental care that most people don’t think about is the tooth development of the child. For instance, not many people realize that a baby’s tooth usually starts to form around week six of the pregnancy. Furthermore, by the end of month three, the dentin and enamel will have begun the mineralization process. So even though you can’t see any teeth when your child is born doesn’t mean they don’t have them.
So how can you best support the development of your baby’s teeth during the pregnancy? The simple answer is to take care of your own health and make sure that you are eating a varied diet that covers all of the basic vitamins and minerals. These include calcium, phosphorus, Vitamin D, and protein. At the same time, stay away from unhealthy foods and drugs that can negatively affect your child.
Consult with your dentist or doctor to establish a comprehensive diet plan during your pregnancy to best ensure that your child is born healthy and smiling. And don’t forget to floss and brush after every meal, and avoid excess sugar intake or tobacco. The rule of thumb is the healthier the mother is, the healthier the child will be. The good news is that most of this guidance is really just common sense, so it hopefully won’t require any special measures on your part.
Your Nashville, Tennessee Pediatric Dental Specialists
At Jody Jones, DDS, we know the stresses involved with pregnancy. Mothers-to-be can be so concerned about the health of their child that they forget to maintain their own dental hygiene. Our staff of dedicated dental professionals takes great pride in serving families in the Nashville area, and we regularly work with expecting mothers to ensure the health and well being of both mother and child. We make it our mission to ensure that our patients understand the importance of regular oral hygiene and will help you and your children form the right habits.
Get in touch today to schedule your next appointment.