Dr. Stephen A. Price


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Expecting? Here’s How to Protect Your Oral Health!

By: | Saturday, August 15th, 2020 | General Dentistry

Saturday, August 15th, 2020

One of the critical advances in dentistry in the past decade has been the intense study of the oral-systemic link. Multiple research projects have led to a clear understanding that every person’s oral health has a very real effect on their body. For pregnant women, this link includes effects on the developing fetus. Poor oral health has been identified as a contributing cause of gestational diabetes, intrauterine growth restriction, premature delivery, and preeclampsia, all conditions that expectant mothers wish to avoid.

It can be frightening to think that your oral health throughout pregnancy can affect your baby. To avoid problems can be a bit more challenging when you’re pregnant due to the ways that changing hormones influence the gums, in particular. It’s not all bad news, though. Here, we outline a few strategies for maintaining a healthy mouth throughout pregnancy.

Watch Out for Sweet Cravings

It’s an old wives’ tale that pregnant women have an unnerving craving for pickles. The truth is every woman may have new and unusual cravings. Sometimes, those are for sweets or high-carbohydrate foods such as bread and rice. Studies show that one of the dangers of starchy, refined carbs is that these molecules increase blood glucose levels. They act similarly to sugar in the way that they affect the teeth and gums.

If you’re pregnant and you find that you’re craving sweets more often than usual, satisfy your pregnancy cravings with fresh fruits, when possible. Fruits like strawberries can be enjoyed with a drizzle of honey or whipped cream for extra deliciousness, and they have a teeth-whitening effect to boot! Another option for satisfying that sweet-tooth without increasing the risk of cavities is to find sugar-free recipes online.

Managing the Effects of Morning Sickness

Morning sickness can be unpleasant at the very least. At worst, when nausea leads to vomiting, this pregnancy-related illness can be unhealthy. Extreme nausea and vomiting may cause dehydration and fatigue. This problem can also affect the teeth because of the acid in stomach reflux. The acid in reflux fluid erodes enamel and may result in cavities. While it may sound logical to brush teeth promptly if nausea causes vomiting, this should be avoided. Acid softens the enamel of teeth. Brushing within 30 minutes of acid exposure could scratch the outer surface of teeth, further increasing the risk of decay and erosion. Instead of brushing, rinse the mouth with water and dab a small amount of mouthwash around the gums for freshness.

Ideally, a thorough dental exam and cleaning can be done before pregnancy. If tooth pain or other problems arise during pregnancy, a call to the dentist can identify appropriate solutions. To schedule a visit to our Burke, VA office for your exam and cleaning, call (703)-935-2879.



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