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Can regularly attending the dentist positively affect my baby?
Who thinks of going to the dentist when we think about becoming parents? I know I don’t. I think about health checks and eating well, not scheduling in a routine scale and polish. To my mind my teeth and gums are unrelated to what else would be going on during pregnancy. It came as a shock to me however when I recently learned that they in fact are.
My friend has recently found out that she is pregnant and is concentrating on getting her health checks up together, including her dental check ups. This is because, unbeknown to lots to people, including myself, gum disease (or periodontal disease) which I have blogged about in the past, has been linked to complications in pregnancy, such as pre-eclampsia and pre-term labour.
As well as the usual during pregnancy cravings for sweets and all things sugary which can affect our teeth and gums during pregnancy, hormones present in pregnancy, such as progesterone, can cause the tissues in our mouths to become softer than usual, which in turn can cause them to swell and stretch making gums more prone to bleeding. If our gums are sufficiently affected by swelling (gingivitis) and this is left untreated by your dentist, the condition can deteriorate and over time cause teeth to become more vulnerable and loosen.
You are also more likely to suffer a build up of bacteria in the mouth and plaque on the teeth during pregnancy, and as a result, it is so important for expectant Mums to visit their dentist regularly and to stay on top of their oral hygiene and to note any deterioration in their dental condition or development of a gum infection.
Dental treatment is free during pregnancy and for up to 1 year following the birth of your baby, so it is an ideal time, to get any dental problems sorted, although there will be health restrictions associated with some dental treatment, such as x-rays. You will also need a maternity exemption certificate which you can ask your doctor for. The NHS is obliged to provide you with routine or emergency dental care when needed, so do make sure that you ask for it if you need it.
You can always ask your dentist about how best to maintain your oral hygiene whilst pregnant if you need some advice.
Your routine dental check ups and dental advice will provide the tests that you need to ensure your gums are, and remain, healthy during pregnancy. If you are concerned that you may suffer with some gum disease and this may be as a result of your dentist not providing these mandatory tests, contact one of our experienced team to discuss this further. We may be able to provide you with some free advice.