A healthy mouth is important for a healthy pregnancy and baby. Researchers have found that there is a link between gum disease and premature or underweight births. An infection in your mouth can spread through your bloodstream to other parts of your body, putting your overall health, and your baby’s, at risk.
Here are some steps you can take to ensure that you are in good oral health both before and during your pregnancy.
* Before getting pregnant, pay a visit to your dentist for a complete checkup. He or she can flag any possible problems and prescribe treatment.
* Make sure you maintain a good program of oral care — brush twice daily, floss daily, eat a balanced diet, and follow any other recommendations your dentist suggests.
* Should any dental problem arise during pregnancy, see your dentist right away.
* If your checkup is early in your pregnancy, be sure to let your dentist know you are pregnant. Typically, X-rays, dental anesthetics, pain medications, and antibiotics (especially Tetracycline) are not prescribed during the first trimester.
* When scheduling a checkup while pregnant, it is best to shoot for the fourth to sixth month. The first trimester is critical to a child’s early development, so as previously noted, certain procedures are avoided. During the last trimester, stresses caused by dental visits may pose problems. Sitting for long periods can also be uncomfortable.
* During pregnancy, many women develop gingivitis or gum disease. This is caused by the buildup of dental plaque on the teeth, which irritates the gums. Symptoms include bleeding of the gums, especially during brushing, and inflammation. During pregnancy, increased hormone levels exaggerate the way your gums respond to the irritants within the plaque, making you more susceptible. Keeping your teeth clean, especially near the gumline, can dramatically reduce or even prevent gingivitis during pregnancy. Your dentist may also recommend gum stimulants or special rinses to help reduce plaque. Making sure you reduce sweets and consume healthier foods such as cheese, fresh fruits, and vegetables, which can also aid your gums.
* Pregnancy dry mouth can put women at greater risk for tooth decay and infections, so be sure to drink plenty of water while pregnant. You might also consider chewing sugarless gum to keep your mouth moist.
* For some women, morning sickness is a real problem during the first trimester. In addition to nausea, they also experience extra acid in their mouths, which can erode teeth. If you suffer from morning sickness, be sure to rinse out your mouth regularly with water, and consider a fluoride mouthwash to help reduce the affects of the acids.
* If you should require an emergency visit while pregnant, let your dentist know about your pregnancy before you arrive. Discuss any stresses, issues, past miscarriages and medications you are taking in advance as this information may influence how your dentist proceeds. Your dentist may also consult with your obstetrician before beginning any treatment.
* If your dentist prescribes any medication, do not exceed the dosage — this includes aspirin.
A healthy mouth is the gateway to a healthy body. Good oral health can get you, and your baby, off to a good start.
Article source: fosters.com