Pregnancy is an exciting time for expectant mothers and their families – whether it’s a first born or fifth. But between the bombardment of advice from parenting magazines, books, relatives and doctors, it can also be an overwhelming time. From scheduling appointments to registering for shower gifts, and choosing the perfect name to figuring out what clothes to squeeze into, it’s easy to forget that the most important thing you can do for your baby is take care of yourself – and dental health is no exception.
Every day is a milestone for your baby when you are pregnant. While we tend to focus on the development of the vital organs, other details sometimes get overlooked. Included among all of those other important parts that develop from the third to sixth month of pregnancy are your baby’s teeth, and what you eat and drink during pregnancy can influence how those teeth form in utero. Your Reston Dentist suggests:
- Focus on foods that are low in sugar and high in nutrition. Avoid white breads and pastas, and limit your intake of juices.
- Instead, eat whole grains and drink water (lots of it) and milk.
- Snack on nutritious foods such as raw vegetables and fruit. For added calcium, eat low-sugar yogurt and cheese.
- Search for foods that contain vitamins A, C, and D. To reduce the risk of birth defects, eat foods that are high in folic acid such as asparagus, leafy greens, legumes, papaya, strawberries, and bananas.
At the Dentist
Like you would for any other health professional you see during your pregnancy, make sure you involve your dentist. Reston Dentistry urges you to let your dentist know about your pregnancy to ensure that:
- They are aware of any medications you might be on that could affect your tooth sensitivity or overall treatment.
- They are aware of circumstances that might require you to postpone treatment, such as a high-risk pregnancy.
- They use a leaded apron and thyroid collar in the event that emergency dental X-rays are required.
- They counsel you on food and drink choices that affect your dental health as well as your baby’s.
What to Expect…
No matter how it might be romanticized on television, pregnancy isn’t all about glowing skin and baby shower games; there are definitely some pregnancy-related dental problems that can erase any ideas of pre-maternal bliss:
- Pregnancy Gingivitis has the same symptoms of regular gingivitis – red, tender, and swollen gums – but is brought on by the surge of hormones some women experience. Since nothing can be done about the pregnancy hormones, it is essential that you are extra vigilant about your dental health care. No matter how exhausted you become, be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily. If you begin to notice signs of gingivitis, your Reston Dentist may suggest more frequent cleanings until the symptoms subside.
- Morning sickness isn’t a dental problem in itself, but the stomach acids that come in contact with your teeth is. If you experience morning sickness – at any time of day – rinse with one teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water to neutralize the acid.
- It’s a horrible name for a harmless condition, but pregnancy tumors will sometimes appear on the gums between months three and six. They are not actual tumors, but swelling that occurs on your gums resulting in reddish, raw raised areas on your gums that are prone to bleeding. The good news is that once your baby appears, the pregnancy tumors usually disappear.