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How Your Oral Health Affects Your Baby During Pregnancy

During those precious nine months, while your child grows within your womb, you’ll be making plenty of sacrifices. Most of these sacrifices will come in the form of carrying extra weight, needing to make frequent trips to the bathroom, and having strange cravings. However, taking care of yourself throughout the infant’s development is essential. Taking care of your dental health may fall to the wayside of all the things you’re worried about during pregnancy. Unfortunately, doing so may put your and your child’s future dental health at risk.

Your Dental Health While Pregnant

It’s understandable that little pieces of self-care, such as those associated with oral health, may fall by the wayside during this busy time. It can be easy to let your weariness make you skip flossing and brushing “just for the night.” However, breaking this habit can make your dental hygiene practices infrequent. As a result, your oral health may suffer.  

While this is troubling enough when you aren’t pregnant, pregnancy can make the impact more severe. Throughout your pregnancy, you will go through numerous hormonal changes. These changes can produce symptoms very similar to those associated with gum disease. This produces a type of gum disease known as gestational gingivitis.

When these symptoms appear, the complications of gingivitis can come with them. This includes tender and red gums that are subject to bleeding when brushed. They can also open the gateway to periodontitis, the advanced form of gum disease. 

Other concerns mothers may face during pregnancy include:

  • Weakened enamel caused by stomach acid expelled during morning sickness
  • Unhealthy dietary habits promoted by pregnancy cravings, including excess snacking
  • Gingivitis-like symptoms resulting from fluctuating hormones
  • Demineralization of the enamel caused by additional nutritional strain from the baby

There are many ways to address these concerns and limit your pregnancy’s impact on oral health. It starts with maintaining a consistent dental hygiene routine. Brushing in the morning and night, flossing frequently, and rinsing with mouthwash is essential. You may also take an additional step and brush or rinse after every incident of morning sickness.

Your dentist may also direct you to take a supplement known as a prenatal vitamin. These vitamins contain the necessary folic acid, iron, and other minerals you’ll need during your pregnancy. It’s important to avoid vitamins that are gummy or chewy. These vitamins can stick to your teeth and promote tooth decay rather than prevent it.

Oral Health Concerns For Your Growing Baby

Research has shown that your oral health and growing child are connected unexpectedly. The link seems to be the bacteria responsible for tooth decay, streptococcus mutans. When oral health concerns become significantly advanced, these bacteria can find their way into the bloodstream. Once there, they can promote the creation of a chemical known as prostaglandins. These chemicals have been linked to triggering premature labor. Reach out to your oral health provider for more information about dental health while pregnant.

It’s common for young children to feel a little nervous when the prospect of a dental visit is mentioned. Children who have been to the dentist before may have had a poor experience prior. Those who have never been may be responding to teasing from their classmates. It’s also possible that they’re merely worried over a procedure they’ve never had before. In some cases, however, the child may suffer from a phobia known as dental anxiety. This phobia can cause them significant anxiety and even fear when they realize they may need to go to the dentist.

Nitrous Oxide And How It Helps Children With Dental Care

The first introduction of nitrous oxide occurred in the late 1800s. At this time, it was discovered that this gas was capable of relaxing patients and reducing some of the discomforts they experienced during treatments. As the years went by, the methods of administering this gas improved, and it became ever more effective and safe. The current method involves using a nasal mask with a control valve that allows the dentist to precisely control the amount of gas delivered.

This is just one of the benefits that this sedative brings to the table. It also lacks any meaningful side effects. The worst reported incidents of nitrous gas are mild headaches and nausea in certain sensitive individuals. When the gas is administered, recovery is also quite rapid. Recovering from nitrous oxide sedation happens at a rate far faster than other sedatives. This means they are back to “normal” within minutes of removing the gas. The actual effect of the gas is to render the patient relaxed, calm, and even perhaps a bit giddy. This is the property that gives it its nickname “laughing gas.” Other benefits of the gas include:

  • Ongoing Communication – Nitrous oxide does not impair the ability of children to respond to the dentist during the procedure. They’ll be able to cooperate while remaining calm and relaxed. They’ll also be able to communicate with the dentist if they have concerns or questions.
  • Short Recovery Times – The recovery times from nitrous oxide are particularly rapid. Those who receive nitrous oxide recover from the sedative within a few moments of the gas is removed.
  • Minimal Side Effects – Minimal side effects occur when nitrous oxide is used. Some patients may respond by sweating or shivering, or even becoming nauseous. However, these side effects are rare, and most patients tolerate the sedative quite well.

These qualities make nitrous oxide continue to be one of the most popular sedative approaches when mild sedation is needed.

Share Your Concerns With Your Dental Provider

Contact your dental professional if you have more questions about using nitrous oxide as a sedative for your child. It has been utilized successfully for over a century to help patients undergo dental care in a safe and calm state of mind. Call and schedule your next bi-annual appointment with them today!