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If you have recently become pregnant or are trying to get pregnant, chances are the last thing you are worrying about is your teeth. We still tend to think of our body as a collection of separate systems that function independently from one another, but advances in medicine show more and more that the health of one system can have a major effect on the whole. That means that proper oral hygiene and dental care is important during pregnancy – both for you and for your growing baby.

If possible, you visit our Alpharetta Dentist location and schedule a visit with Dr. Woods for a thorough oral exam, complete oral x-rays, and any necessary dental work before you become pregnant. After that, you should tell him (and your doctor!) when you are pregnant. They’ll want to take extra precautions and may need to avoid prescribing certain medications that may harm the fetus or interfere with fetal tooth development. You should postpone all elective dental work for the full duration of your pregnancy, but routine dental work is considered safe during the second trimester.

You should always share information about medications with Dr. Woods, but now more than ever, it’s important to let him know what medications you’ve been prescribed. It is also important that you discuss all prescriptions, including any prenatal vitamins with Dr. Woods. You should stay away from X-rays during pregnancy to protect the fetus, but if emergency dental X-rays are necessary, for example, he will know to use extreme caution when taking them in order to protect the health of the fetus.

There are oral health concerns during pregnancy that Dr. Woods can help you with. The hormonal changes of pregnancy may put you at risk for gestational gingivitis. If you have a history of periodontal (gum) disease, then you are at greater risk. You may notice that your gums seem swollen and red when you are pregnant, and that they bleed easily when you brush your teeth, eat crunch foods, etc.

Late in pregnancy the chemical makeup of your saliva can change, potentially leaving you more vulnerable to cavities and dental erosion. The good news is that regular and thorough oral checkups can help catch and treat these issues early, and changes should resolve within a few months of delivery.

Remember to practice good oral hygiene and eat right while pregnant, as well as keeping in touch with your Alpharetta dentist. If morning sickness is keeping you from brushing your teeth, your dentist can help you find a bland tasting toothpaste to lessen the urge to vomit. If you still can’t bear to brush in the morning even with bland toothpaste, at least rinse with a mouth rinse or plain water in the morning. Try brushing later when morning sickness has faded. Avoid sugary snacks. These not only cause tooth decay for you, but research suggests that the decay-causing bacteria can be passed from mother to child in utero. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and calcium rich yogurt and other dairy will provide your baby the vitamins and minerals it needs to grow strong, healthy teeth, and will lessen the likelihood that you experience gestational gingivitis, tooth decay, or other unpleasant dental problems while pregnant.

For additional information regarding your dental routine during your pregnancy, contact our Alpharetta office today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Woods. Our friendly staff is always here to help assist you with any questions or concerns you may have!