The to-do list to plan for a baby's arrival seems endless. Preparing the nursery, countless doctor visits and oh, those cravings. So while moms-to-be have plenty on their minds, they shouldn't forget about their oral health. That means learning what they need to know about teeth cleaning while pregnant. After all, what better reason to show off a perfect smile than the birth of a child?
So maybe you've been putting off getting that cavity filled. Now, lo and behold, the throb is starting to wear on you but you're concerned about exposing your fetus to anesthesia. Not to worry. According to The Journal of the American Dental Association, dental treatments that involve local anesthetics are safe for pregnant women. Far too many women avoid dental procedures out of concern when it's not necessary.
Pregnancy increases the risk of tooth decay for many reasons. Women consume more carbohydrates while brushing their teeth becomes a chore due to morning sickness, an increase in bleeding gums and the possibility of a gag reflex. Potential reasons to skip dental visits are exactly why pregnant women should make it a point to go.
Spilling the Beans
Revealing a pregnancy tends to be a tricky, and sometimes touchy, subject. It's important for those who provide your medical care to know immediately. That goes for your dentist. So while most couples prefer to wait until after the first trimester to tell family and friends, women should tell their dentist as soon as they know. Also, provide your dentist with a list of any medications you're taking. If necessary, your dentist and physician will consult on appropriate medications.
So now that you've got the green light on procedures that require a local anesthetic, you might be wondering which ones fall under that umbrella? According to the American Dental Association, you're clear to have three of the most common: a root canal, a tooth extraction and filling a cavity. X-rays are also safe during pregnancy. These play a necessary role in diagnosing dental issues, but some women might be concerned about radiation exposure. Fear not, as the radiation level in an x-ray is low. The dentist will also use a lead apron as a cover over your body, which provides a level of protection to the abdomen.
Unless it's a dental emergency, plan your dental visits throughout the entire pregnancy. You should start by scheduling an appointment prior to becoming pregnant. That way, any necessary procedures can occur before beginning the conception process. Another benefit to that type of planning is having a healthy mouth decreases the risk of delivering prematurely or having a baby with low birth weight.
The first trimester isn't ideal for dental treatments as the fetus is starting to develop. Instead, schedule non-emergency visits for the second trimester or early in the third trimester. Avoid anything later in the third trimester as that can increase the risk of premature delivery.
There a few experiences in a woman's life as special as being pregnant. Watching your body create life over the course of nine months introduces moms – and dads – to a love that they can't possibly fathom until holding their newborn baby. But don't lose sight of maintaining good oral health. That includes teeth cleaning while pregnant. Brush at least twice each day with a fluoride toothpaste. And don't forget to floss, as it complements brushing by removing food particles that stick in places a brush can't reach. Taking care of your mouth ahead of time will allow you to focus on the arrival of your little one.