There are two main approaches to dentistry. These are called curative care and preventive care. Curative care involves fixing issues like gum disease and cavities after a problem has already developed. Preventive care is something you probably already practice, even if you do not call it by name. It involves daily brushing and flossing, eating a healthy diet, and regular trips to the dentist in order to prevent cavities and gum disease from forming. While many people practice preventive care on their own, if you have recently become pregnant or intend to become pregnant, you may want to visit your dentist to ask about ways that you can improve your preventive care at home or if you need more intensive preventive options such as sealants or oral fluoride treatments during pregnancy.
Your Teeth and Gums May Be At Higher Risk During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, the hormones you produce may cause your gums to swell and become inflamed. At this time, plaque on your teeth can easily result in gingivitis. You may notice that you have bleeding gums and that food gets stuck between your teeth more easily due to swelling of the gums. If you fail to brush your teeth because of sensitive gums, you may end up with tooth decay as well.
Because of this increased risk of gum disease and tooth decay it is important to start preventive care early in pregnancy. This may include more frequent flossing at home as well as more frequent professional cleanings throughout your pregnancy.
Your Dental Care Options May Be Limited During Pregnancy
Although most dental procedures are considered safe during pregnancy, your options for some pain medications may be limited. Additionally, you may not feel comfortable laying in a dental chair during the late stages of pregnancy.
Preventive care can help reduce your need for extensive dental treatment during your pregnancy, which can keep your baby safe and keep you comfortable.
Your Dental Care Options May Be Limited While Breastfeeding
If you decide to breastfeed your baby, your options for pain medication and anesthesia may continue to be limited. This means that you may not be able to treat serious dental issues soon after your baby is born while maintaining your desired feeding method. To make sure you can continue breastfeeding as long as you and your baby want, it is important to practice diligent preventive care.
Caregivers Pass On Cavity-Causing Bacteria
The bacteria that causes plaque and, eventually, cavities is passed on from person to person through saliva. It is usually passed on from primary caregivers to infants and toddlers. If you are able to reduce the amount of plaque-causing bacteria in your mouth during your child's first few years, the amount that you pass on to your child may be lower, setting them up to have healthier teeth throughout their life.
For this reason, it is important to discuss both at-home and in-office approaches to bacteria reduction while you are pregnant and after your child's birth.
A Preventive Approach Can Instill Good Dental Hygiene In Your Child
If you practice good oral hygiene regularly, it is likely that you will pass these habits on to your child. By setting an early example of regular preventive visits to the dentist along with daily brushing and flossing, you will teach your child that oral healthcare is important and that preventive care is the best approach to healthy teeth and gums.
If you are pregnant or are considering becoming pregnant, it is important to visit a dentist and learn more about the different types of preventive care that are available to you. For more information, contact a company like Northwest Dental Services and Implant Center.