Moms-to-be are usually quite busy preparing their home, making childcare arrangements, and fitting in everything else while getting ready to welcome their new bundle of joy. Prenatal visits are a necessity when expecting, but there’s one part of prenatal care that many moms-to-be often neglect – that’s taking care of their teeth and seeing their dentist for checkups and cleanings. Your family dentist at Terry Soule, DDS, wants you to know that routine dental exams and cleanings should be part of your prenatal care and here’s why.
Oral health and pregnancy
Pregnancy changes a woman’s hormones by producing a higher level of progesterone. When this occurs, the mouth secrets more acid, which is the building block of gum disease and cavities as it weakens dental enamel. Even after giving birth, new moms are at a higher risk of developing gingivitis, which is known as the first stage of gum disease. Gum disease is a chronic bacterial infection that causes inflammation of the gums, gums that bleed easily, and that are sore or tender.
When harmful bacteria reside in the mouth such as the case with gingivitis or gum disease, it can easily travel into the bloodstream via the gums. When this occurs, it can lead to chronic inflammation throughout the body, and even pose risks to your unborn baby. Gum disease has been linked to causing pre-term birth, as well as low birth weight in babies. Even after you deliver your baby, maintaining good oral hygiene to reduce the risk of gum disease can continue benefiting your baby because gum disease bacteria can be transferred to your baby via kissing or sharing of eating or drinking utensils.
How can I protect my baby?
Prevention is the best way to protect your unborn baby from the risks associated with gum disease. Plus, you not only are protecting your baby, but your body as well since gum disease has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Prevention efforts should include brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and just as important as the latter is visiting your Orange City dentist twice a year for routine dental checkups and cleanings. During these routine visits, Dr. Soule is also able to identify oral health concerns such as small cavities or early signs of gum disease, which can be treated before they escalate into bigger health problems.
Maintaining healthy teeth and gums doesn’t just stop at brushing, flossing, and dental visits. You should also maintain a healthy diet rich in lean meats, dairy, and fruits and vegetables. Skip the sodas and sugar-laden beverages such as sweet tea and sports drinks, and be cautious about how much sugar you add to your morning cup of joe if you drink coffee. Limit your intake of sweet treats and candy. Also, if ever you are unable to brush your teeth between meals, chew a piece of sugar-free gum that contains xylitol, which helps remove food particles, and reduces your risk of cavities and gum disease.
Prenatal Oral Care in Orange City
If you would like to learn more about prenatal oral care, or other ways to protect your teeth during and after pregnancy, please contact our office by calling (386) 775-1552 to schedule a consultation.
Terry Soule, DDS, is proud to serve patients in the areas of DeBary, Deltona, and Orange City.