Dental Care for Kids: Finding the Right Dentist

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Dental Care During Your Pregnancy And Post-Partum Period: What You Should Know

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If you are planning to have a child or are already expecting, your dental care regimen may have gotten lost in the shuffle of preparation and visits to the obstetrician. However, your dental care is important during your pregnancy, and there are also things you should know about visiting the dentist when you are pregnant and just after the baby is born. Read on to learn what you should know about the dentist and pregnancy so you can be as healthy as possible during this exciting time.

Before Your Pregnancy

If you are not pregnant yet but thinking about having a child, now is the time to talk to your dentist about what to expect once you are pregnant. Changes in your hormones can make your mouth more sensitive, so taking care of any major dental work now is best. Also, be aware that while it is generally considered safe, most dentists won't perform teeth whitening during pregnancy, so this is another good procedure to do in advance of expecting.

Early in Your Pregnancy

Many women experience some degree of morning sickness during the first trimester of pregnancy. You may find your regular toothpaste tastes bad to you due to nausea and changing hormones, so be ready to try a different brand or flavor if necessary. Using a soft toothbrush with a small head can help prevent provoking your gag reflex while brushing.

Don't forget to tell your dentist about your pregnancy. They'll want to hold off on dental procedures that aren't needed to avoid exposing you to x-rays or anesthesia.

It's a common myth that a baby's calcium comes from the mother's teeth. Nevertheless, you want to eat a diet high in calcium and vitamins for strong bones and teeth in your little one, whose teeth start developing during the first trimester. Hold off on taking any antibiotics in the tetracycline family, as these can stain your unborn baby's teeth.

Later in Your Pregnancy

Some women also develop pregnancy gingivitis due to hormonal changes affecting the gums. An anti-plaque rinse can help protect your teeth from decay at this time and keep the gums from becoming inflamed further. Check with your dental insurance carrier, if you have one, since many plans allow for an extra dental cleaning for pregnancy gingivitis.

Try to get any last dental appointments before the baby's birth done before the last couple of months of pregnancy. Lying on your back in the dentist's chair can be uncomfortable, and the final hormones your body produces can make your mouth extra sensitive.

Some women experience pregnancy granulomas--small harmless tumors of the mouth--that your dentist may want to remove if they interfere with biting, chewing, or speaking. If you find any lumps in your mouth, be sure to let your dentist know so you can decide on a course of action together.

The Post-Partum Period

Once the baby is born, you can go back to your regular dental examination and treatment routine. Even if you are breastfeeding, x-rays, nitrous oxide (laughing gas), and local anesthesia are safe for you to have and won't be passed on to the nursing baby.

If you haven't replaced any mercury fillings at this point, your dentist may urge you to do so. Small amounts of mercury can be passed in breast milk to your baby, and mercury can accumulate to unsafe levels.

Having a baby can keep you quite busy, but don't forget to take care of your teeth! You'll want to have the most beautiful smile possible for all those family photos soon to come.

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