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DENTAL HEALTH TIPS
Good Oral Health Begins in the Womb
Pregnancy is the time to increase your oral health care. Most parents are not aware of how important good dental care is to the health of the mother and baby.
Dental health and nutrition for the expectant mother is important in that tooth development for your baby begins by approximately the sixth and eighth weeks of pregnancy and continues throughout pregnancy. Hardening of the baby teeth begins at four months.
What you eat affects your baby's developing teeth. Slight deficiencies in your diet and dental health may cause changes in your baby's tooth formation that will leave a tooth at greater risk for decay later in life. At birth, your baby has all their primary teeth and many permanent teeth at different stages of development . During pregnancy good dental care and an adequate diet is necessary for optimal oral development of your baby and their teeth.
Once pregnant, changes in estrogen and progesterone levels cause an increase incidence of dental health problems such as: increased sensitivity and puffiness of the gum disease, increase in cavities, increase in plaque formation, nausea, vomiting, and food cravings.
If mothers do not have good dental health* they can transmit cavity causing organisms known as streptococci mutants to their children. These organisms are responsible for causing tooth decay. They are passed from the mother to her baby through kissing and saliva. Research shows that by following these suggestions you can significantly decrease the risk of exposing your baby to this bacteria.
1. If you have not received dental care before
becoming pregnant you should visit your dentist during the first trimester of
pregnancy for assessment of oral health problems and preventive
counseling. Dental procedures can be successfully completed during the
second trimester. Appointments during the third trimester should be kept
as brief as possible, laying back in the dental chair can be very uncomfortable.
This could lead to dizziness or loss of consciousness and may cause unnecessary stress
on the baby. Also during the third trimester you are the most at risk
for premature delivery. Elective and extensive procedures can be done after your baby is
born. Dental cleanings are essential during this time. There are studies
linking untreated gum disease with premature and low birth weight
babies. Cleanings need to be don on a regular basis during
pregnancy. If you have pregnancy
gingivitis (the first
step in the progression of gum disease) it is recommend that you
have your teeth cleaned every three
months during pregnancy, rather than the usual six month interval.
2. Once you have determined you oral health status you can suppress or reduce the bacterial that causes cavities by:
3. Chew gum containing xylitol, for a minimum of five minutes after each meal. Xylitol will: retard the growth of oral bacteria, neutralizing plaque acids to fight cavities and remineralize tooth enamel. It is found in Trident™ Original, Bubblegum, Trident for Kids gum, Biotene gum.
4. Use fluoride. During tooth development, fluoride is incorporated into the tooth structure making the tooth strong and decay resistant. Use fluoride containing products daily:
5. Be sure to eat a wide variety of foods. Making wise nutrition and food choices during pregnancy can help avoid malnutrition that may bring on hypoplasia, a condition characterized by inadequate development of the infant's tooth enamel. You should remember to consume dairy products, which are the best source for calcium, the main building block of bones and teeth. Also make sure you include foods in your diet that are a good sources of calcium and vitamin D; phosphorus; foods contains vitamin A and C; and protein. By doing this as soon as you find out you are pregnant, you will be caring for your baby's teeth and bones.
6. Dental problems also can be caused by snacking more often. When the snacks are sweet or sticky, tooth decay or cavities occur. It is important to snack less often on foods high in sugar, or eat these sweets at the end of a meal instead of between meals. You can also brush your teeth or rinse your mouth with water after eating these foods. Avoid sugary pop which leads to acid attack and tooth decay. Snack wisely.
7. Restore and maintain optimum dental health for yourself by having a comprehensive exam and periodontal (gum tissue) probing. Follow through on you dentist recommendations and have all of your cavities treated and your gum tissue restored to good health. Research in the last few years shows that dental preventive care should be a cornerstone of good prenatal care. If you’re pregnant and haven’t had your teeth cleaned for a while, please make an appointment. Preventing advanced gum disease during pregnancy is just as important to the baby as a good prenatal diet.
8. See your dentist at the first sign of problems such as pain, bleeding, inflammation or infection and every six month to maintain good dental health. Dental emergencies can be treated during any trimester. It is recommended to avoid routine x-rays during pregnancy, though x-rays needed for emergency treatment can be done safely after shielding your abdomen with a lead apron (for extra safety we double shield your abdomen). Remember the amount of radiation is minute and the beam is limited to a small region of the face.
9. Acceptable antibiotics include penicillin, amoxicillin and clindamycin. Avoid tetracycline and narcotic pain medication and aspirin. Acetaminophen should be used in most cases if you are not allergic to this product. Dental anesthetics at regular doses are not harmful to the unborn baby. Dental discomfort can be treated with Tylenol in most cases.
10. If you are experiencing morning sickness, it is important to neutralize the acid cause by vomiting which causes tooth erosion. Try using a paste made of baking soda and water, rubbing it on the teeth. After 30 seconds, rinse off the paste, then brush and floss. If this is not possible, rinse with water.
11. Antibiotics use and breastfeeding recommendations: Antibiotics and Breastfeeding Safety
Women with periodontal disease are at three to five times greater risk of preterm birth than those who are periodontally healthy.
(*The old saying that "the mother will lose a tooth for every child" is based on the false assumption that the developing baby draws calcium from the mother's teeth. The baby's calcium needs are provided by the mother's diet. When the mother's diet is not sufficient in calcium her body may try to compensate for this lack by drawing some calcium from her bones; however, her teeth will NOT be affected. While oral health can be affected during pregnancy, it is often because of poor oral hygiene.)
^Dentalnotes, Winter 2002.
Mercury Fillings in Moms
Don't Lead to Small Babies
Safe Oral Sedation during Pregnancy
suggest doxylamine succinate for the alleviation of nausea and vomiting
attributed to "morning sickness" in pregnant folks. The great thing about
doxylamine succinate is that it's readily known by it's trade name,
Unisom, and is marketed as a night time sleep aid. During pregnancy you
can be safely orally sedated with, doxylamine succinate (Unisom) 25-50
mg's PO. If Unisom were not available, diphenhydramine would be another
acceptable alternative as they are both in the same class of drugs
--antihistamines. N20 can be safely used with pregnant women, but limit
its use to 2 hours or less.
Pregnancy may pose a number of concerns to the mother and the baby. . Transmission of caries-causing bacteria is one problem that can be minimized by utilizing Chlorhexidine rinses and xylitol containing chewing gum.
International Journal of Dental Hygiene Volume 1 Issue 3 Page 174 - August 2003
Head Start: An Opportunity to Improve the Oral Health of Children
Working with Health Professionals to Improve Access to Oral Health Care.
Working with Parents to Improve Access to Oral Health Care.
Moms are the best role model for their daughters!
A recent national survey stated that 92% of girls ages 7-17 say their mom is their primary role model, particularly when it comes to eating healthy and drinking milk.
Half of all adult women in this country do not drink even one 8oz glass of milk a day.
Daughters are watching their moms closely for cues on how they should take care of their bodies.
Women need 1,000 mg of calcium a day or about three 8oz servings of milk a day. Girls ages 6-8 need this same amount. However, girls ages 9-18 need at least four 8oz servings for optional bone development.
Research shows that when mom consumes milk with her children their intake of calcium will increase. It was also found that mothers were the single strongest predictor of their children's milk consumption.
How a mother feeds her daughter determines how her daughter feeds herself.
Source: Journal of American Dietetic Ass., Vol 98, 1998.
Visit: Why Milk