Oral hygiene is essential for your overall well-being. And if you are pregnant, it is a crucial part of your prenatal care. Prenatal dental care in Sacramento involves the maintenance of the oral cavity while the fetus is developing. During pregnancy, a woman’s body experiences hormonal changes that cause various issues in the oral cavity. These issues include periodontal diseases, tooth decay, and erosion.
Proper dental care and gynecologist-approved dental procedures are essential to maintain the health and well-being of the pregnant woman and growing fetus. Read ahead to learn the importance and tips for maintaining good oral health during pregnancy.
Importance of Dental Care During Pregnancy
You should maintain good oral health during pregnancy. Dental care is considered necessary in prenatal care, as women are more prone to periodontal diseases. Moreover, poor oral health can harm both the mother’s and the baby’s health.
Research has shown periodontal disease affects about 40% of pregnant women. Periodontal diseases are commonly caused by pregnancy gingivitis, inflammation of the gums, and nausea and vomiting. Morning sickness leads to nausea and vomiting, which results in the breakdown of the enamel, the coating of the teeth.
One research found a direct link between gum diseases in pregnant women leading to premature birth with birth weight less than 2500g. Moreover, premature babies are more prone to brain injury and issues with their vision and hearing.
The oral health condition of children is significantly associated with that of mothers. According to research, an expectant mother having cavities increases a child’s risk of developing them by three times. However, frequent dentist visits and maintaining oral hygiene will prevent dental diseases and ensure a healthy baby.
Dental Visits During Pregnancy
If you plan to conceive, it is best to schedule a dental visit and let your dentist know. That way, your dentist can examine your teeth and gum tissues thoroughly. Your dentist might also suggest cleaning and treating any dental issue before pregnancy. Moreover, dental procedures before pregnancy are comfortable as you might get morning sickness and feel tired during pregnancy. More importantly, dental procedures before pregnancy can prevent or reduce the risk of premature or early birth.
Always let your dentists know you are pregnant. That way, your dentist can take additional precautionary measures to ensure your and your baby’s wellness.
When you are pregnant, your hormones fluctuate, making it more likely for your gums to swell and become sensitive. Routine dental procedures are safe to perform on a pregnant woman. Dentists suggest getting regular checkups and cleanings as needed throughout pregnancy. These preventive dental checkups will reduce the risk of developing gum diseases and infections. Be vigilant and keep track of your oral health, as dental problems can lead to premature birth.
Although dental procedures are safe during pregnancy, dentists recommend getting your routine checkups and dental procedures done by the second trimester. It can get difficult to lie on a dentist’s chair for an extended period during your third trimester. When you reach your third trimester, it is better to postpone all dental procedures until after your delivery. However, you might need dental procedures like tooth extraction and root canal.
Medications and Dental Treatment During Pregnancy
As explained earlier, oral hygiene is essential during pregnancy. Dentists recommend regular checkups to prevent periodontal diseases and infections that might lead to premature birth.
Most dental procedures require an X-ray; contrary to popular belief, they are entirely safe. Before getting an X-ray, let the dentist know if you are pregnant. Your dentist will use a special apron and collar to protect you and the baby from X-ray radiation. However, you can consult your dermatologist if you are unsure about X-rays. You can even postpone the dental procedure until after the birth.
Dental treatment that includes cosmetic procedures and teeth whitening should be postponed till after delivery. That way, you can protect the baby from exposure to any risks.
Some dental procedures require anesthetics and are considered safe during pregnancy. However, informing the dentist about your pregnancy can help them choose suitable anesthetics and set the correct levels. Local anesthetics are safe during pregnancy; these include bupivacaine, mepivacaine, and lidocaine. However, if your dental procedure requires more potent anesthetics, you can discuss it in advance with your gynecologist.
Regarding medications, there are conflicting results of studies on the effects of dental medication during pregnancy. Lidocaine is one of the common medicines used in dental procedures. This drug goes inside the placenta, but it is unclear whether it harms the baby in any way.
Other medications prescribed by dentists include antibiotics and painkillers. Clindamycin, amoxicillin, cephalosporin, and penicillin are safe antibiotics. In case any other medicine is prescribed, consult your gynecologist.
How to Prevent Dental Problems
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to gum diseases and cavities. Here are a few tips that can help maintain your oral hygiene.
1. Brushing Your Teeth
Brushing your teeth twice a day using fluoride toothpaste would be best. Dentists suggest regular brushing rigorously for 2 minutes can remove plaque and keep your gums and teethes healthy. Use a small-headed soft bristle brush.
Most pregnant women deal with morning sickness. In such a case, rinse your mouth with lukewarm salt water to reduce acid. You can also use antacids as they neutralize stomach acid. However, ask your gynecologist before taking any over-the-counter medicines.
2. Avoid Sweets
Most women crave sweets during pregnancy. Avoid eating sweets and other sugary snacks as they cause tooth decay during pregnancy. Go for healthier options like fresh fruits to satisfy your cravings. Frequent snacking also leads to an acid-loving bacteria called Streptococcus mutans. Increased production of this bacteria results in weakening the enamel.
3. Eating Right
Incorporate a healthy, balanced diet. A healthy diet contains cheese, yogurt, and dairy products; they are a rich source of essential nutrients and minerals and are beneficial for a baby’s growing teeth, gums, and bones.
You can also snack on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain bread, pasta, and lean meat. More importantly, keep yourself hydrated to avoid premature labor, low amniotic fluid, and neural tube defects.
4. Increase Vitamin D
To utilize calcium, make sure you get small amounts of sun exposure. Besides sun exposure, you can also get vitamin D from food sources like eggs, margarine, salmon, vitamin D-fortified milk, bread, and cereals.
Medi-Cal Dental Program in Sacramento
It would be best if you got the necessary medical care during pregnancy. In California, there are various options for uninsured women to receive healthcare coverage. These options include Access for Infants and Mothers (AIMS), Covered California, and Medi-Cal.
Medi-Cal is a Medicaid program in California. This program offers various healthcare treatments for adults and kids with low income and resources. The services of Medi-Cal includes healthcare program for adults and senior citizens, mental health programs for youngsters and children, healthcare services for children, women, and young people, and programs for cancer and other chronic diseases. More importantly, Medi-Cal also covers dental care, which is called Denti-Cal.
You can apply for the Medi-Cal program regardless of gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age, race, religion, color, national origin, or disabilities. Qualifications for full-scope Medi-Cal are based on your family income, whether you have children dependent on you, and any other conditions that may apply.
If you apply for Medi-Cal after getting pregnant, you might be eligible to sign up for full-scope, no-cost Medi-Cal. It contains general medical and prenatal care, labor, and delivery. This coverage includes the Denti-Cal program.
Most people have a common misconception about Denti-Cal that it is a separate program requiring people to qualify. Denti-Cal is one of the many benefits of the Medi-Cal program. Almost everyone qualified for Medi-Cal coverage can take advantage of Denti-Cal without additional work.
The Denti-Cal program has been designed to provide dental care to American citizens and long-term immigrants. Enrollment in Denti-Cal is regarded as all-or-nothing; however, the amount of support your family is entitled to can differ significantly depending on your family’s income, size, and other factors.
Medi-Cal dental program covers procedures and cares throughout pregnancy. Denti-Cal offers various services for pregnant women. These services include:
- Teeth examination
- Teeth cleaning
- Fluoride varnish
- Scaling and root planing
- Tooth extraction
- Root canals
- Partial and full dentures
- Denture relines
- Emergency services
Denti-Cal offers free or low-cost checkups every six months for women under 21. In some cases, it also covers dental crowns for molars or premolars.
Denti-Cal will offer insured services worth up to $1,800 annually. Before performing any dental treatment, your dentist will confirm with Denti-Cal that you are within the $1,800 limit. However, under critical circumstances, dental services can exceed the $1,800 limit if declared medically necessary.
Several services don’t count towards the $1,800 limit, including emergency treatment, dentures, pregnancy-related services, and those offered by long-term care facilities. If you have emergency Medi-Cal, dental benefits will also cover extractions and emergencies, including bleeding in the mouth, toothache, and fractured teeth.
Denti-Cal also allows you to make decisions regarding your dental procedures and get urgent appointments. Additionally, you have the right to keep your personal information and dental records confidential. In case service is denied, you should receive a notice and have the option of appealing it.
Dentists at Soft Touch
Soft Touch Dentistry, led by Andrew Owyoung, DDS, and Alex Owyoung, DDS, has been offering complete dental procedures to families in Sacramento for over 29 years. Dental professionals at Soft Touch Dentistry are friendly. They take time to understand your needs and plan the appropriate dental procedure. More importantly, they discuss patients’ dental problems and explain the entire process and treatment.
Andrew Owyoung, DDS
Dr. Andrew Owyoung leads Soft Touch. In 1988, he received his DDS and a Bachelor of Science degree in dental materials from the University of California, San Francisco. Since then, Owyoung has been working in the dental industry, providing high-quality dental care. Moreover, he is also a member of the Sacramento District Dental Society, the American Dental Association, and the California Dental Association.
Alex Owyoung, DDS
The son of Dr. Owyoung, Alex Owyoung, DDS, is a dental surgeon at Soft Touch. In 2016, he graduated from Santa Clara University with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. Later, he received a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from the University of California, San Francisco.
Dr. Alex Owyoung discovered his passion for dentistry while attending Santa Clara University. He participated in several dental and medical missions and was appointed an EMT. Dr. Alex Owyoung is a member of the Honor Dental Society, Omicron Kappa Upsilon. Additionally, he participated at the San Francisco Mabuhay Health Center. Like his father, Dr. Alex Owyoung aspires to offer exceptional dental care and looks forward to treating cancer patients.
For more information about oral surgery and other prenatal dental care in Sacramento, visit the Soft Touch Dentistry website or call 916-424-1703.
Our Final Thoughts
Your hygiene is essential during pregnancy to ensure the well-being of yourself and your child. Doctors have regarded dental procedures as safe during pregnancy. A proper diet and regular brushing can prevent periodontal diseases and infections during pregnancy. Additionally, prenatal dental care prevents early labor and other oral conditions. Therefore, take the dental treatments and examinations you require.