Expecting mothers and fathers often have many questions regarding dental care and their new addition. In this blog, I will try to address some of the common questions and provide some general information for expecting mothers.
I remember when my wife and I started telling people we were expecting with our first child. It is probably the best conversation started to open the door to unsolicited advice and stories. I’m not saying that is a bad thing. It mostly comes from a good, caring place. It’s natural for people, especially friends and family, to want to help by sharing their experiences. But, just like with any other advice there is the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The ugly: a common misconception is that your unborn baby is going to steal the calcium from your teeth making them soft and more prone to cavities.
The good: if you are of childbearing age, your teeth are fully formed and are not a source of nutrients or minerals for your child.
The bad: many changes are occurring in your body that can have a negative impact on your oral health.
Morning-sickness can be a major issue for expecting mothers. When my wife was pregnant, she suffered from “anything-but-morning sickness.” The constant onslaught of stomach acid can weaken teeth and soften the enamel. Many times there is a desire to immediately and vigorously brush to get the bad taste out of your mouth. However, the effects of the stomach acid can be present for up to 15 minutes, and brushing right away can actually brush away softened enamel. Here are some helpful tips regarding morning-sickness (also good for nausea in for life after pregnancy). Do not brush immediately after vomiting. Wait at least 15 minutes to give your saliva the chance to buffer the acid. If you can stomach it, you can rinse with a couple of teaspoons of baking soda dissolved in a cup of water to neutralize the stomach acid. You can also rinse this a fluoride mouthwash to help with the bad taste and help strengthen the teeth, I recommend Listerine Zero (the purple).
The hormonal changes that are taking place to prepare for the new addition are also causing changes in your mouth. This changes make the mouth, particularly the gum tissues more prone to inflammation and gum disease. There is an old adage, “gain a child, lose a tooth.”
Regular Dental Care
By maintaining regular dental visits and following a good oral hygiene at home this adage can be debunked. If you haven’t been to a dentist for a while and are pregnant, it is important to schedule for an evaluation. At this appointment a baseline for your oral health can be determined, and a screening for periodontal disease can be completed. There are many studies showing a correlation between periodontal disease and preterm birth and low birth weights. This is just another reason to maintain good oral health and regular dental visits when pregnant or planning to conceive.
If you have been maintaining your regular dental visits, are pregnant and it’s determined you need non emergent treatment, we will usually defer that treatment to the second trimester. Treatment for a dental emergency can be completed in any trimester. We always take every measure to make sure treatment is safe for both mother and baby.