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Dental Health for Pregnant Moms

6 Reasons Why Dental Health is so Important for Pregnant Moms

In 2015 Cigna enhanced its Oral Health Maternity ProgramSM for members with Cigna medical and fully-insured dental coverage.  It is good to know that Cigna’s Dental Oral Health Integration Program was first to enhance dental coverage for people with diabetes and heart disease, and for pregnant women.

Research shows the importance of good oral health at any time but especially when pregnant.  Always inform your dentist if you are pregnant, likely to become pregnant or attempting to become pregnant.  They will know the appropriate precautions to follow.

  1. Always tell your doctor if you are pregnant and avoid dental treatments during the first trimester and the third trimester if possible. It is always better to avoid exposing the mother to procedures that may influence the baby’s development in any way.  Evidence suggests 4 in 10 pregnant women have gum disease – or gingivitis – when dental plaque builds up on teeth and irritates gums.  This is also known as periodontal disease and the effect is red, inflamed and bleeding gums that are swollen and very tender.  Pregnancy results in increased levels of hormones, which exaggerates the way gums react to the irritants in plaque.  Regular visits to your dentist and keeping your teeth clean, especially along the gum line, will help reduce this disease or even prevent it altogether.  Many dentists recommend teeth be brushed twice daily and flossed at least once daily to keep gingivitis at bay.
  2. Dentists also advise pregnant women to pay attention to what is described as Dry Mouth.  This also can put women at risk for problems such as tooth decay and also infections.  It is best to always drink plenty of water and remain hydrated.
  3. If you’re unfortunate to have morning sickness during pregnancy remember that nausea can produce additional acid in your mouth and that if left can erode teeth enamel.  Always rinse well with water, or a mouth wash if you prefer.  Often the nausea produces the desire to have a snack to get rid of the feeling.  Unfortunately, and especially when the snacks are sweet, tooth decay or cavities may occur.  Some dentists recommend rising your mouth with a mild solution of baking soda in water.  This has the effect of neutralizing the acids so they do not damage your teeth.  You may need to floss and clean your teeth more often if this is the case.
  4. Try to select nutritious snacks like unsweetened yogurt, raw fruits and vegetables, nuts and cheese.
  5. Avoid routine x-rays during pregnancy. If there is an emergency and it becomes necessary, your body must be covered with a lead apron to protect you and the baby.
  6. Be especially careful about self-medicating when dental issues arise during pregnancy. Excessive amounts of some pain-killing drugs can be harmful to the baby.  Always consult your doctor and your dentist.