For expectant mothers, taking care of their oral health becomes both more important and more difficult. Pregnancy causes a variety of hormonal changes to occur that increase a woman’s risk of developing gum disease, which can negatively impact the health of a developing infant.
To help ensure you and your baby remain healthy throughout the pregnancy, Beaverton dentist Dr. Scott Walker and the staff at Murray Scholls have a few tips on how to handle your oral health while pregnant.
For women anticipating becoming pregnant, it’s important that you schedule an appointment with Dr. Walker. A pre-pregnancy trip to the dental office allows Dr. Walker to examine the health of your gums in order to treat any health concerns well in advance of them becoming problematic. Dr. Walker will also take the opportunity to clean your teeth so you can enjoy the best possible oral health prior to getting pregnant.
Dental Care During Pregnancy
Always make sure to inform Dr. Walker when expecting, as a dental treatments should be avoided whenever possible during the first and second half of the third trimester. These two stages of pregnancy rank as critical times in a child’s development, and expectant mothers should avoid undergoing any procedures that negatively impact an infant’s development or growth. While certain necessary dental procedures can still be performed during pregnancy, expecting mothers should postpone all cosmetic dentistry until after delivering.
While some procedures may need to be skipped, pregnant women need to make sure they still attend their regularly schedule dental checkups. Regular periodontal examinations become critically important during pregnancy due to a woman’s constantly shifting hormones, which places her at higher risk of developing gum disease. Expectant mothers need to pay close attention to any changes that occur to their gums during pregnancy, such as bleeding or swollen gums. Should swelling or bleeding start to occur, you need contact Dr. Walker immediately.
You should also inform Dr. Walker of any medications you take during pregnancy, as certain drugs can cause side effects, such as dry mouth, that can negatively impact your oral health. Based on the types of drugs you’re taking, Dr. Walker may need to alter your dental care plan.
Healthy Eating During Pregnancy
In spite of the cravings that generally accompany pregnancy, expectant mothers should make every effort to avoid eating excessive amounts of sugary foods. The more you snack on foods high in sugar during your pregnancy, the greater your risk of developing tooth decay becomes. Some studies have even found that mothers can pass the bacteria the causes tooth decay to their child, so limiting sugar can improve not only your health but that of the baby’s as well.
Instead of eating high amounts of sugar, try eating a balanced diet instead. Since a baby’s teeth first begin to develop roughly three months into a pregnancy, expectant mothers should eat plenty of yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products to ensure their bodies contain enough of the vital nutrients needed for their babies to develop strong bones, teeth, and gums.
You should consider scheduling an appointment with Dr. Walker at our Beaverton dental office shortly after delivering to undergo another routine examination.