Your dentist in Newberg, Oregon knows that pregnancy can be one of the most exciting– and maybe busy– times in the lives of families. First babies and new additions bring a whirlwind of activity, joy, and discovery.
With all the goings on of pregnancy, it’s understandable that your oral health might not be at the top of your list of concerns– but pregnancy is actually a critical time for oral health.
What’s the deal with pregnancy and oral health?
As almost any pregnant or previously pregnant woman will attest, the miracle of life brings with it an avalanche of hormones. Besides the always-fun side effects of acne and nausea, hormones can have another impact: dry mouth.
Pregnancy-related dry mouth doesn’t get the same press time as morning sickness, but it can have serious consequences. Decreased saliva places pregnant women at a higher risk for periodontal disease and cavities. How? Saliva doesn’t just make it easier to swallow and talk– it fights bacteria, cleans your mouth, and re-mineralizes dental enamel.
Worse yet, periodontal problems aren’t just your problem if you’re pregnant. Health experts believe that the inflammation caused by periodontal disease affects the entire body by increasing systemic inflammation, and raising the risk for heart, kidney, and other diseases. While the risks are relatively low, untreated periodontitis could have impacts on your growing baby. Additionally, dental procedures or medications are usually avoided during pregnancy, so your treatment options may be limited.
So what can you do?
Step one: get the care you need
There is a myth that pregnant women should not see dentists. This belief is not only untrue, it could compromise your health! At our family dental clinic we see people at all stages of life and have a great deal of experience helping pregnant women maintain their oral health throughout pregnancy.
If you have no significant health history or current dental problems, your dentist in Newberg Oregon will most likely recommend a visit in the second trimester to monitor the health of your mouth, have a cleaning, and do a periodontal exam. X-rays are avoided during pregnancy, and our friendly staff– many of whom have children themselves!– will work with you to make sure your visit is a comfortable one.
Step two: keep up the good work
Our patients rarely need to be told to brush and floss, but a little reminder is helpful: daily oral hygiene is especially critical during pregnancy to give your body all the assistance it needs to keep you healthy!
Some women may find this especially challenging– particularly if you are experiencing morning sickness and generalized nausea. Who wants to think about flossing and brushing when you’re just trying to keep your breakfast down?
Some of our patients have recommended:
- switching up toothpaste flavors– peppermint, in particular, is supposed to help nausea
- using peppermint flavored floss
- if you crave sweets or carbs, be sure to clean your teeth or drink lots of water afterwards
As always, we love hearing what our patients think and learning new strategies from them! Call us with your ideas or questions, or at your next dental appointment. We look forward to seeing you.