Dental care is critically important during pregnancy. Routines a woman follows and the choices she makes while pregnant can have a lifelong impact on her child.
Common Dental Problems Associated with Pregnancy
A majority of pregnant women have gingivitis, an early form of gum disease. Changes in hormone levels can cause the gums to become red and swollen. If gum disease is left unchecked, it can lead to bone loss and gum infection. Teeth can eventually become loose and may need to be extracted.
Untreated gum disease during pregnancy can contribute to premature birth and low birth weight. A baby may have vital organs that are not fully developed, may need to spend weeks or months in the hospital, and may have serious health problems into adulthood.
Pregnancy tumors are also common. They are non-cancerous lumps on the gums that are red and raw and often bleed. The tumors generally go away after a woman gives birth, but during pregnancy, they can make brushing painful.
If you experience morning sickness, stomach acid can damage your tooth enamel. If you can’t brush your teeth because of nausea, rinse your mouth with water or fluoride mouthwash to prevent tooth decay caused by acid.
Some pregnant women experience dry mouth, which can increase the risk of tooth decay and infection. Drink enough water to keep your mouth hydrated and chew sugarless gum to stimulate the production of saliva.
Children born to women who have untreated cavities or who have experienced tooth loss are more likely to have cavities than children of women without untreated dental problems. This can cause pain that can affect children’s ability to eat and to concentrate in school. If you think you might have a dental problem, contact your dentist right away to schedule an appointment so it won’t have long-term effects on your child.
Take Care of Your and Your Baby’s Teeth and Gums
Routine dental care before and during pregnancy is essential and can help you deliver a healthy, full-term baby. If you are planning to become pregnant, visit your dentist for an exam and cleaning and have any dental problems treated before you conceive. While you are pregnant, take care of your teeth and gums. Brush twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily. Eat a healthy diet and continue to visit your dentist for routine care.
Once your child is born, make a habit of wiping his or her gums after each feeding and start brushing when the first tooth erupts. In addition, you should take your child to a pediatric dentist by his or her first birthday. If your baby is due for an initial exam, schedule an appointment at CT Pediatric Dentistry today.