Out of all of the health matters that may concern you about your pregnancy, dental hygiene is possibly one of the least pressing issues. Your baby should be fine even if you get a toothache, and any changes in your eating habits are understandable.
As long as you've maintained a regular, healthy teeth-cleaning routine, then your child should be fine. But if you haven't, you should ready your toothbrush. Not just for yourself, but also for your week by week pregnancy.
A recent Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare blog post from Dr. Alex Franz, M.D., noted that your teeth are often the first line of defense between you and bacterial infection. Franz cited an American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology study that found a possible link between dental health and problems during pregnancy. He noted that re-term birth, low baby weight and even the possibility of miscarriage may result from an oral infection. Cavities and gum disease create harmful bacteria that can harm your baby's development or possibly cause early labor after triggering your immune system.
The solution is simple enough - brush, floss, use mouthwash and visit your dentist regularly for a cleaning.
Don't worry about the checkup
You may be worried that some dental procedures are harmful to your developing child. However, Wallingford Dental Practice recently stressed both the need for pregnant women to maintain their dental health and the relative harmlessness of visiting the dentist. The source noted that local anesthesia, pain medication and even X-rays should not affect your fetal development.
More than just your baby, there's also yourself to consider. Wallingford Dental Practice mentioned that due to hormones, you may experience sensitive, puffy gums while you're pregnant. Lingering pieces of food can make this situation worse, so maintaining a fresh, clean mouth can help you avoid unnecessary pain.
The source suggested that to protect their teeth, expecting mothers should reduce the sugar in their diets, while eating more lean meats, fiber and other low-sugar foods. Meanwhile, Franz encouraged mothers to eat more foods rich in folic acid, because it reduces the risk of pre-term labor and other complications. His list included spinach, asparagus, orange juice and numerous other healthy fruits and vegetables.
Did you experience any dental problems during your pregnancy? Were you worried about visiting the dentist? Leave us a comment and let us know!