February 2018: Thinking about starting a family?
Thinking about starting a family?
Make sure your oral health is optimized first!
A lot of women think about making an appointment with their family physician before starting a family but few people think about checking up on their dental health. Pregnancy can have a big impact on your oral health and your oral health can have a big impact on your pregnancy.
Calgary Fine Dentistry recommends booking a dental examination with x-rays as well as a dental cleaning if you are thinking of starting a family and prior to getting pregnant.
A dental examination with x-rays is recommended in order to detect and treat any cavities before they become a problem during pregnancy. The radiation exposure from dental x-rays has been lowered drastically since digital x-rays have come into practice, but it is still recommended to avoid routine dental x-rays during pregnancy to reduce radiation. If x-rays are necessary during pregnancy they are considered safe but it’s still always good to be careful and minimize radiation.
I recently had a patient in for a dental examination. She had a baby 6 months ago and was overdue for her x-rays. With how the timing worked out it had actually been 3.5 years since she had had x-rays. She had been low risk for developing decay so we had been taking x-rays on her every 2 years. But when the two years came up she thought she might be pregnant so we decided not to take x-rays at that time. Unfortunately when we did get to update her x-rays she had developed 3 cavities. If we had known she was planning on getting pregnant soon I would have recommended to take x-rays a little sooner so we could make sure to detect anything before it got too big.
During pregnancy, the change in hormone levels makes your gums become hypersensitive to plaque and tender to touch. A level of plaque on the teeth that normally would not irritate your gums can cause the gums to become red and inflamed which is called pregnancy gingivitis. In addition, a lot of women find it challenging to brush adequately when dealing with morning sickness and thus increasing the risk of developing pregnancy gingivitis. Getting your teeth cleaned before becoming pregnant as well as keeping up regular dental cleaning visits during pregnancy will help minimize these effects.
When you do become pregnant try to be diligent about brushing and flossing because once the little one comes its going to be even more challenging to find the time to take care of your teeth at home and get in to see the dentist!
Dr. Lauren Vredenburg
Calgary Fine Dentistry