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3 Reasons for Pregnant Women to Go to the Dentist

by Jane Wangersky | April 14th, 2014 | Pregnancy

dentist signHealth care appointments are a part of life during pregnancy, and they need to include dental appointments. Dental care in pregnancy can be important not only for your baby’s healthy development, but for your own comfort. Here’s why:

  • Dental treatments, including X-rays and even local anesthesia, are safe for pregnant women, says the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, as reported by HealthDay News in 2013. This hasn’t always been the case; I can remember having a root canal delayed because I was pregnant, as well as being routinely asked about pregnancy before getting my teeth X-rayed. But now pregnant women are encouraged to go ahead with treatments before problems get worse.
  • The same report makes the point that keeping your mouth healthy during pregnancy “may decrease the transmission of cavity-causing bacteria from mother to baby, which can help reduce the child’s future risk of cavities.” You’re not only taking care of yourself, you may be sparing your child from having to get fillings later on.
  • You may find yourself with pregnancy gingivitis — red, swollen, bleeding gums. Increased female hormones contribute to this. Though gum disease was earlier thought to have a connection with babies at risk for low birth weight, this has been questioned recently, and more research needs to be done, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Either way, gingivitis is painful, and may mean you should have your teeth cleaned more often. That may be a good idea in any case, according to Tricare.

Here are a few more tips for dental health during pregnancy:

Brush your teeth after all meals — and snacks — not just twice a day.

Schedule your dental appointments for between the 14th and 20th weeks of your pregnancy. DHHS reminds you “In the last months, you might be uncomfortable sitting in a dental chair.”

The baby’s teeth, though they won’t emerge for months after birth, actually start growing between the third and sixth months of pregnancy. The best thing you can do to help this is to eat right, getting enough calcium, protein, phosphorous,and vitamins A, C, and D.

When you’re still waiting for a child to be born, it can be hard to think ahead to taking him/her to the dentist years from now, let alone paying the dental bills then. But a little care now can make a big difference later on. It can also keep you healthier and happier during your pregnancy.

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