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The dos and don'ts of dental care during pregnancy

BDS, Diploma in Hospital Administration, Diploma in Pharmacy
Dentist, Delhi  •  23 years experience
The dos and don'ts of dental care during pregnancy?
Among the many steps you are taking to ensure a healthy pregnancy (prenatal visits, vitamins, good nutrition, exercise plans, etc.) should be dental care. Oral health is important not only for you, but for the health of your baby as well. Some dental problems may cause a greater risk for complications during pregnancy. And, the changes your body is going through, such as increased blood flow, can amount to dental problems that you have not previously experienced. The following are some conditions you will be at a higher risk for:
Pregnancy gingivitis- affects nearly 50% of expecting women and results in red, swollen gums that can cause tenderness and bleeding.
Pregnancy tumors- are non-cancerous tumors found on the gums as a result of gingivitis and dental plaque. They are harmless and usually recede after you have your baby, but see your dentist if you have pain or concerns.
Periodontal disease- without proper attention and oral hygiene, pregnancy gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease- an infection that attacks periodontal tissues and can pose a serious threat to pregnant women.
Here are some quick guidelines to help you avoid these conditions during pregnancy.
Do: try and schedule a visit to the dentist office if you are planning on becoming pregnant. That way your teeth can be professionally cleaned, your mouth can be examined, and any issues can be addressed prior to pregnancy.
Don't: avoid dental check-ups just because you are pregnant. Schedule a visit in your second trimester and make sure to tell your dentist of your condition as well as any medications you might be taking.
Do: pay attention to any changes in your gums during pregnancy. If you notice changes or are concerned, consult with your dentist.
Don't: have dental x-rays taken during pregnancy except during an emergency. As long as you keep your dental staff informed, they will work to take every necessary precaution to ensure your healthy pregnancy is a priority.
Do: continue regular brushing and flossing habits- even if you are suffering from morning sickness. If your toothpaste is too strong, ask your dentist to recommend a more bland type. Try to rinse your mouth with water after vomiting to remove harmful acids from your teeth.
Don't: have elective dental work done during pregnancy. While regular cleanings and maintenance are not harmful, it's best to avoid things like cosmetic procedures until after your baby is born.
Do: eat right for your baby and for your teeth. Baby's first teeth start developing around month three into your pregnancy. Healthy diets containing, milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products are a great source of essential minerals that are important for your dental health, as well as baby's developing teeth, gums and bones.
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