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The Importance of Dental Care During Pregnancy

Young pregnant woman in dentist office
Oral care is especially important when you're pregnant. Hormones can affect your gums and teeth, and bacteria from infections could have an effect on your baby.
Though you've likely heard many myths and misinformation about dental care and pregnancy, seeing your dentist and taking care of your teeth won't harm your baby. However, you may need to change a few things about your dental care so that both you and your baby remain healthy.

Common Tooth Problems During Pregnancy

Many of these problems can happen at any time of your life; however, they are more likely to give you trouble when you're pregnant.
Gingivitis
Your gums may swell and become more sensitive during your pregnancy. Elevated hormone levels also contribute to the growth of bacteria in the mouth. In addition, your immune system might not recognize or fight the problem in the same way that it did before you were pregnant. In most cases, this problem subsides after the end of the pregnancy.
Pregnancy Granuloma
These are also known as pregnancy tumors, but they are not cancerous. They appear as small lumps or nodules that develop above the upper gum line and sometimes between the teeth.
Pregnancy granulomas are sometimes sensitive and bleed easily. Usually they cause few other problems and disappear after the baby is born. Keeping up with your oral hygiene can reduce your risk of getting granulomas.
Increased Chance of Tooth Decay
Your mouth changes during pregnancy and your saliva may become more acidic. You may also have problems with both a dry mouth as well as excess saliva. These problems contribute to an increase in the bad bacteria on your teeth and make you more susceptible to tooth decay.
Tooth Erosion
If you have a lot of morning sickness and vomit often, then your stomach acids can put your teeth at greatest risk of erosion. When this happens, do not brush your teeth right away as this could make the problem worse. Instead, rinse your teeth and mouth with water or water and baking soda, and wait at least a half hour before brushing.

Tooth Care During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, you should be extra diligent about flossing with fluoride and brushing your teeth at least twice a day. You can also use a non-alcoholic, fluoridated mouthwash when needed to help prevent tooth decay. When you brush, use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush along the gumline. In addition, limit sugary snacks and refined carbohydrates and eat foods high in calcium.

Dentist Visits During Pregnancy

The best time to visit the dentist for a full checkup and cleaning is before you get pregnant. However, seeing your dentist any time during your pregnancy is safe. That said, dentists recommend that you schedule appointments for the second trimester to avoid any chance of possible influence on the baby's development. 
Tell your dentist that you're pregnant or might be pregnant during your visits. If you're having any type of dental issue, don't let your pregnancy stop you from saving your teeth. X-rays are considered to be safe because the radiation is low and you'll be protected by a lead apron.
You have no excuse for not taking care of your teeth during pregnancy. In fact, doing so will not only protect your baby but will also help you maintain healthy teeth. Talk to your OB-GYN as well as your dentist about any problems with your teeth during your pregnancy.
If you are having a dental problem or just want to get a routine checkup either before or during your pregnancy, contact us at Ackley Dental Group for a consultation and appointment.

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