Being pregnant comes with a lot of life changes and adjustments. Many women find themselves unable to eat certain foods or participate in activities like they did before becoming pregnant and all have concerns about what things will directly affect their unborn child. Thankfully, proper dental care is something that pregnant women can (and should) participate in. Many dentists in Birmingham, AL will be happy to help pregnant women with their dental care. Here are tips regarding dental care for women who are experiencing a pregnancy.
Tell Your Dentist
This may seem obvious but dentists in Birmingham AL or anywhere will not just automatically assume you are pregnant during the early months. Be sure to tell them as soon as you know to find out to identify if any dental care can be postponed until after delivery. Dentists will then know to keep an eye out for any gum issues and can also help you figure out the best dental options for the term of your pregnancy.
Also be sure to tell your dentist any medications you are taking, including prenatal vitamins.
Avoid Dental Procedures Beyond Cleaning
It is best if all dental treatment, except cleanings, are avoided during the first and third trimester. Since these are critical periods in child development, any operation or procedure should be postponed unless it is an emergency. X-rays should also be avoided. Pregnant women can do a light procedure such as a cavity filling, root canal or having a tooth pulled if local anesthesia is used. Surgery or other serious procedures that requires you to be asleep under general anesthesia should be avoided.
However, do not skip your regular dental exams and cleanings. Dental check-ups are essential during pregnancy as hormones can cause gums to bleed or swell. Pregnant women are often at risk of gum disease due to a rise in progesterone which can cause an extreme response in development of plaque bacteria. Pregnant women may also be at risk of tooth decay so telling your dentist in Birmingham AL that you are pregnant is a step that should not be skipped.
Eat a Balanced and Teeth-friendly Diet
Pregnant or not, there are certain foods that should be avoided due to their ability to degrade enamel such as coffee, alcohol and drinks and foods high in acidity. Since pregnant women are now eating for two, make sure that you are getting all the nutrients and vitamins you need for both yourself and the baby. Vitamin B and C are essential for strong teeth and gums and help development as well. Also make sure to increase your calcium intake with dairy products and natural fruits and vegetables.
Many women will often suffer from morning sickness in their first trimester and will avoid brushing their teeth due to the strong smell and taste of a mint toothpaste. Instead of avoiding brushing your teeth, switch to a more bland-tasting toothpaste with a very slight or non-existent scent.
Practice Good Daily Oral Hygiene
Birmingham dentists, as well as dentists around the globe, insist that practicing good daily oral hygiene is something that should always be consistent, pregnant or not. Continue to brush your teeth at least twice a day followed by proper flossing and mouthwash. Some pregnant women may find that mouthwash is too strong and can lead to vomiting so it is okay to switch to just rinsing with water while pregnant.
Poor habits can lead to many development issues later on so continue to keep up with good practices.
Stay Comfortable While at the Dentist
Being pregnant comes with its fair share of aches and pains and going to the dentist, if it wasn’t already, may be an added discomfort. In order to make a visit a little more comfortable, bring a pillow that you can rest on your stomach to help you and your baby feel safe. Do not cross your legs while you are in the chair in order to promote healthy circulation and keep your legs from falling asleep. Finally, if possible, bring headphones and some soothing music to relax you while you are getting a cleaning or routine exam.
Pregnancy is a wonderful experience and deserves to be treated with the upmost respect and caution. Staying informed about what is safe for you and your baby when it comes to the dentist will ensure that everything goes smoothly.