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Little Smiles Pediatric Dentistry
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8708 SE 17th Ave, Portland, OR 97202
(503) 235-0313
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Caring for your Oral Health During Pregnancy

Posted on 8/25/2015 by Cynthia Pelley
A woman rubbing her belly because she is pregnant.Did you know that when you care for your own oral health during pregnancy that you are caring for your unborn baby's oral health? The teeth of your baby start developing at just 6 weeks gestation, which means that you need to be caring for your teeth from day one of the pregnancy!

Caring for your teeth while you carry your bundle of joy is not much different than the oral health care everyone should be receiving, but there are a few special areas of concern that you should be aware of.

A Higher Risk of Gum Disease

Your hormone levels are higher during pregnancy, which means that your risk of gum disease increases more than any other time in your life. This is due to the increased blood flow to the gums that higher hormone levels cause. This condition, known as pregnancy gingivitis, can cause serious issues with your baby's oral health as well as his overall health. In order to ensure that you are not prone to pregnancy gingivitis, take the following steps:

•  Get regular cleanings throughout your pregnancy as professional cleanings are the only way to permanently remove plaque and bacteria that cause gum disease
•  Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day to give your teeth a proper cleaning in between dental visits
•  Talk to your dentist about any medications that you are taking because of the pregnancy

The Risks to the Baby
If you do not take proper care of your oral health during pregnancy, you could put your baby at risk for the following issues:

•  Early delivery and low birth weight - These are both detrimental to your baby's overall health and wellness and should be incentive enough to prevent gum disease.
•  If you have tooth decay that you do not treat, your baby is four times more likely to have tooth decay early in life.
•  If you do not eat a proper diet, you put the development of your baby's teeth at risk. Proper nutrients are essential for the teeth to grow in strong and healthy.
•  If you do not have the bacteria in your mouth properly removed, it could pass to your fetus, putting him at risk for oral and physical health issues.

The Nutrients you Need
In addition to proper brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings is the need to provide your baby with proper nutrients. Adequate consumption of calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and Vitamin C will help your baby's teeth grow in strong and healthy. The best foods for you to consume while pregnant to obtain these nutrients include:

•  Low-fat dairy including milk and cheese
•  Dark, leafy vegetables
•  Carrots
•  Broccoli
•  Peppers
•  Strawberries
•  Beans
•  Tomatoes

Taking proper care of your teeth while you are pregnant, not only does your oral health good, but also that of your baby. When you are carrying a bundle inside of you, you are caring for two - make sure that you remember that and do what you can to enhance your oral health.

Just brushing and flossing is not enough - make sure to see your dentist for a cleaning at least twice during your pregnancy. In addition, once your baby is born, don't forget to set up his appointment with us as soon as his first tooth erupts. It is never too early to start proper oral health care! Start before your baby is even born getting him on board with proper oral health care and you will set him up for a lifetime of smiles!

Please call us today for your baby's appointment for a check-up!

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Little Smiles Pediatric Dentistry - Cynthia Pelley | | (503) 235-0313
8708 SE 17th Avenue, Portland, OR 97202