Hartwell Dentistry welcomes you back for part 2 of ‘What is the link between pregnancy and oral health?’
Eating a balanced diet is vital to provide the correct amounts of nutrients to nourish both mother and child. What you eat during the nine months of pregnancy affects the development of your unborn child. This includes the child’s teeth as the development of baby teeth begins between the third and sixth month of pregnancy. It is important that the mother receives sufficient amounts of nutrients; calcium, protein, phosphorous, and vitamins A, C, and D.
During pregnancy, desire to eat between meals is normal. While this is a normal urge, frequent snacking on carbohydrate-containing foods can be an invitation to tooth decay. Eat nutritious, well-balanced meals made up of foods from the five major food groups: breads, cereals and other grains; fruits; vegetables; meat, fish, poultry and protein alternates; and milk, yogurt and cheese. When snacking, choose foods that are nutritious such as raw fruits and vegetables and dairy products. Following your physician’s advice regarding diet is your wisest course.
During pregnancy, your body’s hormone levels rise considerably. Gingivitis, infection of the gum, especially common during the second to eighth months of pregnancy, may cause red, puffy or tender gums that tend to bleed when you brush and floss. This gum issue is an exaggerated response to plaque and is caused by an increased level of progesterone in your system. Having more visits to the dentist and hygienist during pregnancy is an option to maintain gum health and to prevent gum-disease/ infection causing bacteria to affect the unborn-child. Good oral care at home is necessary including brushing and flossing.
Regular dental visits/ radiographs
Radiographs may be needed for dental treatment or a dental emergency that can’t wait until after the baby is born. Untreated dental infections can pose a risk to the unborn-child; and dental treatment may be necessary to maintain the health of the mother and child. Radiation from dental X-rays is extremely low. Dental radiographs are not contraindicated if one is trying to become pregnant or is breast feeding due to the low exposure of radiation it will be needed at the discretion of the dentist who will do a risk analysis in consultation with the patient.