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Discovering that you're pregnant is certainly an exciting time, and there are many things to consider including your dental health. But how does pregnancy affect your oral health? Read on to find out more.
When should you visit your family dentist while you're pregnant?
During the first trimester of your pregnancy, your baby's organs are developing, and the foetus is extremely sensitive to influences from outside of the womb. Towards the end of your pregnancy, it probably won't be comfortable for you to sit in the dentist's chair, and there is also a risk that the stress caused by dental procedures could upset the uterus at this sensitive time. Bearing this in mind, the best time to visit your dentist for routine care is during the second trimester of your pregnancy.
Remember to tell your dentist that you are pregnant, and if possible, postpone any major reconstructive or surgical dental work until after your baby is born.
It's common for pregnant women to experience swelling, reddening and bleeding of the gums when they brush their teeth. This condition is called pregnancy gingivitis and most commonly affects the front of the mouth. Gingivitis is thought to be caused by the change in your hormones during pregnancy, and the condition usually disappears by itself shortly after the baby is born.
You can manage the condition during your pregnancy by using a good antibacterial mouthwash daily. Flossing can also help to control gum inflammation. Your dentist may recommend a deep-clean of your teeth to help manage the condition, and this can safely be carried out at any stage of your pregnancy.
Pregnancy granulomas are small cysts that sometimes appear on the gums during the second trimester of pregnancy. They appear as small, red growths along the upper gum-line which can bleed or become ulcerated. Although they can be uncomfortable, granulomas are not cancerous and will vanish after the baby is born.
If you suffer from morning sickness, there is a danger that the increased levels of acid contained in your vomit may damage the enamel on your teeth.
To combat enamel damage, avoid brushing your teeth immediately after you've been sick, as the acid present will cause even more erosion. Before you brush, rinse your mouth out with a mixture of water and baking soda to reduce the level of acidity in your mouth.
Do your teeth provide calcium for your baby's teeth too?
The assumption that your own teeth provide calcium for your baby's is an urban myth. Although your developing baby has tiny teeth forming beneath its gums from four to six weeks of age, the calcium required comes from your diet, not from your own teeth.
As long as you eat a healthy, balanced diet, your baby's teeth will develop normally. Ask your family dentist like Thomas Aulsebrook & Associates for advice on what to include in your diet to help maintain good dental health for you and your baby.
It's safer to avoid having dental x-rays taken until after the baby has been born, unless the treatment you require cannot wait. If absolutely necessary, digital x-rays can be taken reasonably safely after the first trimester of your pregnancy, as long as you wear a protective lead apron.
Remember to tell your dentist that you're pregnant when you attend for your first routine check-up and deep cleaning treatment following the discovery. It's important to maintain a good oral health regime and to keep up regular visits throughout your pregnancy.