Is it possible to maintain good oral health while expecting?

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Now that you’re pregnant, you may be wondering if routine dental procedures such as X-rays and cleanings are safe. You can set your anxieties aside because you should continue to visit your dentist every six months for a regular exam – maintaining your oral health is good for both you and your baby!

Some experts believe that a trip to the dentist is most ideal between the 14th and the 20th week of pregnancy – after you reach the third trimester, it may be uncomfortable to lean back in the exam chair for a long time.

Your changing hormone levels can cause your gums to swell, bleed, and become sore, which usually starts to happen during the second trimester (another reason for the suggested range of weeks to visit the dentist). This can increase the frequency that food gets trapped between your gums, which can lead to infection without proper care. Gum disease is among the risk factors for preterm birth, so you’ll want to stick to your regular dental exam schedule so a professional hygienist can help keep your mouth healthy.

You generally will only need an X-ray if you’re experiencing a dental emergency, otherwise, you can postpone this step until after you give birth. Most health care providers will OK dentists filling cavities and performing root canals, though if the procedure is not an emergency, your dentist may advise you to wait until after birth. Looking to whiten your teeth? Hold off. It’s best to wait on cosmetic procedures until the postpartum period, simply to reduce any potential risks to your developing baby.

Brushing and flossing regularly and eating a balanced diet will improve your dental health and help your baby to develop strong teeth as well. Make sure you are getting the recommended amounts of phosphorous, vitamins A, C and D, calcium and protein.

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