lifestyle

Dental Health During Pregnancy: Some Tips From the Experts

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There is arguably no woman out there who considers pregnancy boring. It is so often a period of great change. Keeping up with or understanding the changes, both physical and otherwise, can be a great challenge. Many women don't realize the changes going on in their mouths during pregnancy, though there can be, in fact, many. As such, you may have questions about your dental health during this time. Recently, we chatted with the American Dental Association during one of our Twitter #gno parties and got some answers to many of those questions.

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Question: Does pregnancy affect my teeth? If so, how?

Answer: Yes! Brushing and flossing contributes to your overall health in very real ways, as we mentioned in our post last week about dental health. And, your health directly affects your baby's health. The changing hormone levels of pregnancy can make some dental problems worse. Also, pregnancy can predispose you to various dental conditions, like non-cancerous pregnancy tumors and pregnancy gingivitis. Because of this, it is more important than ever that you take care of your teeth and gums during pregnancy and visit your dentist.

Question: So, it's safe to go to the dentist when I'm pregnant?

Answer: Yes! The ADA says: "Don’t put off dental care during pregnancy. Good oral hygiene and regular dental visits are key.” For most women, routine dental visits are safe during pregnancy, but let your dental office know what month you are in when you make your appointment. If you have a high-risk pregnancy or a medical condition, your dentist and your physician may recommend that treatment be postponed. The benefits of receiving dental care during pregnancy far outweigh potential risks.

Question: Really?  Dental treatment during pregnancy is okay?

Answer: Most ­dental care, including dental X-rays, pain meds and local anesthesia is safe throughout pregnancy. The ADA recommends telling your dentist of any change in the medications you take or if you have received any special advice from your physician. If you have a high-risk pregnancy or you have some other medical condition, your dentist and your physician may recommend that treatment be postponed.

Question: Do I need to change the way I take care of my teeth during my pregnancy?

Answer: No, just be more diligent about staying on top of your dental health. Some simple tips include:
·         Brush thoroughly with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste twice a day.
·         Floss between your teeth daily.
·         Purchase products that have the ADA Seal of Acceptance. When you see the ADA Seal on a package, you can be sure the product inside has been scientifically evaluated to be safe and effective.
·         Eat a balanced diet. If you snack, do so in moderation and give preference to healthier choices such as fruit and vegetables.
·         If you need help controlling plaque, your dentist may recommend rinsing at night with an anti-microbial mouth rinse.
 
What are some of the ways you keep your teeth healthy during pregnancy?

 

Jamie MoesserA frequent contributor to Mom It Forward, Jamie Moesser holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in public administration. Before becoming a full-time mom she spent 10 years writing grants and fundraising for non-profit organizations. She now enjoys volunteering at her sons’ school, reading, writing, and scrapbooking. And as if that wasn’t enough, her other hobbies include waterskiing, r/c car racing, and dirt biking.

 

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