dental care is important during pregnancy

Importance of Dental Care during Pregnancy

Dr Devine Oral Health

Serving Brentwood, Belle Meade and Green Hills Areas of Nashville TN

Have you ever heard the saying “gain a baby, lose a tooth”? This old wives’ tale proposes that new mothers can expect to lose at least one permanent tooth as a consequence of their pregnancy. Often, people who state this phrase believe that carrying a baby in the womb draws out calcium from the teeth of the mother. If this all sounds familiar, your Nashville prenatal dentists at Devine Dentistry have good news…  neither of these statements is true. Although dental care is especially important for women who are pregnant, any dental health problems that develop are preventable. Read on to find out why.

Morning sickness can erode tooth enamel

Nausea and vomiting, especially in the morning, are usually the first symptoms of pregnancy to manifest themselves. Each time a person vomits, this expels acids that come up from the stomach, so pregnant women who are vomiting regularly may experience the deterioration of tooth enamel from repeated exposure of acids to their teeth. Enamel is the protective outer layer of your tooth structure; when you lose it, your teeth become much more vulnerable to decay and injury.

It may sound counter-intuitive but if you throw up, brushing your teeth immediately after you vomit actually is the worst thing you can do with regard to your dental health. Brushing right after vomiting just spreads the acids that are generated from your stomach around more of the surfaces of your teeth. Instead, your Belle Meade dentists recommend that the first thing you do is rinse with a solution of baking soda and water, which will neutralize any acids that remain in the mouth, wait a little while, about 20-30 minutes, and then brush.

Dry mouth is a common symptom of pregnancy

Did you know that saliva is one of your greatest assets in maintaining oral health? Best of all your mouth produces saliva naturally, and this flow helps rinse away food particles and bacteria from your mouth that can lead to the development of cavities. Dry mouth, a common symptom during pregnancy, impedes this saliva production, making it easier for the cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth to proliferate and form areas of decay.

If you are a pregnant woman suffering from dry mouth, make an extra effort to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. Just remember to avoid sipping on sugary beverages or sodas all day, which will do double damage to your teeth! You also can chew sugar-free gum to encourage the flow of saliva.

Gum disease is the most prevalent dental issue affectingwomen during pregnancy

If your gums become red, sensitive, puffy, or bleed easily,then you could have gingivitis, the initial stage of gum disease, which occurs when a bacterial infection develops in the tissue of the gums. Pregnant women are more susceptible to developing gum disease because of hormone changes that occur in their bodies while carrying a baby. If you already have gingivitis before becoming pregnant, your gingivitis could easily become worse unless you take action to protect your oral health. 

Your Green Hills dentists at Devine Dentistry offer a comprehensive program of treatment options for gum disease in any stage—including periodontitis, the advanced stage of the disease where permanent damage is done to your oral health and pockets form between your teeth and your gum line. We treat gum disease in Nashville through repetitive therapy and laser therapy.

Dentistry for expectant mothers in Nashville

Another widespread myth is that it is unsafe for pregnant women to go to the dentist. This is untrue; most dental procedures are perfectly safe, including check-ups and routine cleanings, although you should consult your obstetrician prior to any treatment that involves anesthesia. We can care for your oral health through every stage of your pregnancy. In fact, you may want to alter your normal schedule of dental visits. We recommend having a check-up performed soon after learning you are pregnant. This will save you from perhaps having a cleaning done while in your third trimester when it can be uncomfortable to sit in the dental chair.

It is important to maintain good oral health during pregnancy not only for your own good, but also for the health of your baby. Poor oral hygiene during pregnancy has been linked to causing preterm birth and low birth weight in babies! Help protect the health of your unborn child by maintaining good oral hygiene both during pregnancy and beyond.

To learn more about how we treat gum disease, our program of general dentistry or any of the ways we can serve your oral health needs during pregnancy, contact (615) 269-4209 to schedule your consultation.

Devine Dentistry offers the highest level of professional oral health care to patients in the areas of Belle Meade, Green Hills, and Nashville in Tennessee.