I’ve mentioned before that I’d like to share some of the steps I’m taking to prepare for starting a family. While this may seem unrelated, one of the first things I’m doing is reevaluating my dental care routine. Why worry about my teeth now?
- According the the American Dental Hygienists’ Association an estimated 75% of Americans reportedly have some form of periodontal disease.
- Women with periodontal disease may be at three to five times greater risk of preterm birth than those who are periodontally healthy.
- Poor dental health has been linked again and again to cardiovascular disease due to the transmission of bacteria from the mouth through the bloodstream and the subsequent build up on the valves of the heart.
Statistics aside, why else is this a good time to consider good dental care? Simply put, I want to teach my future children good dental habits. I want that twice a day brushing and flossing to come natural to them. I need to get in a better routine myself and the time to do it is not going to be when I am chasing after a toddler.
Plus, pregnancy itself can affect dental health. Some women claim to have more sensitive gums when pregnant. My dental hygienist suggested that brushing during times of morning sickness can stimulate one’s gag reflex. Thus, she thinks women tend to brush less during early pregnancy allowing more plaque buildup and gingivitis which in turn causes gum sensitivity.
So, how’s a freakishly over prepared girl to best manage her pearly whites before she’s even pregnant? Here are 4 easy steps…
- Think ahead when scheduling dental check ups. Have routine x-rays taken at your last visit prior to trying to conceive, even if they aren’t due for several months. Get any problem areas repaired so you don’t have to deal with them while pregnant. Ask your dentist or hygienist about any special clinic policies for pregnant women and seek out any advice they can offer.
- Consider investing in an electronic toothbrush. I’ve been putting this off due to the anti-greeness of such a device but I’m going to cave soon. Not only will this help make my brushing time more effective but electronic toothbrushes also stimulate the gums to reduce sensitivity and bleeding. I’m a consistently poor brusher on my left side (I’m left handed) and my dentist thinks an electronic toothbrush will really help get my teeth in the best shape possible. Plus, I think the timer will keep me from cutting those brushing sessions short.
- Follow the ADA’s recommended guidelines: brush at least twice daily and floss at least once daily. Like I said earlier – if you’re not in the habit, get there now, before baby comes!
- Shop around for a natural toothpaste. If you’re concerned about chemicals and things affecting your offspring it’s time to start replacing those conventional products with ones that you’re more comfortable with.