There are many health concerns when you’re pregnant. And not just for you — what you eat, how you sleep or what medications or supplements you’re taking all have an effect on your baby.
With so many concerns, it’s easy to neglect caring for your teeth. But like other health issues, dental care affects both you and your baby and their future teeth and gum health. For both your sakes taking care of your mouth is a must.
For one thing, you’re more susceptible during pregnancy to periodontal (gum) disease, an infection caused by bacterial plaque built up on teeth surfaces due to ineffective hygiene. It’s believed hormonal changes increase the risk of gingivitis, the inflammation of infected gum tissues, common to expectant mothers.
Gum disease is a serious matter for anyone because of the increased risk of tooth loss. But there’s another potential risk for expectant mothers: the bacteria that causes gum disease can pass through the placenta to the fetus. This can stimulate an inflammatory response from the mother that may result in a pre-term delivery and low birth weight.
There are some things you can do to protect your dental health and your baby’s future health. Maintain a healthy diet with a wide range of whole foods: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, proteins and dairy products. Your doctor may also recommend iron and other supplements to reduce anemia. For the baby’s dental development, be sure you’re taking in sufficient calcium in your diet as well as other vitamins and nutrients. And although it’s common to develop carbohydrate cravings, limit your consumption — especially sugar. Carbohydrates increase the levels of bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease.
Above all, practice consistent daily hygiene by brushing at least twice a day and flossing once. Be sure to visit us at least twice a year for cleanings and checkups. If you notice bleeding, swelling or redness of your gums (signs of gum disease) contact us as soon as possible.
A little extra attention to your teeth and gums while you’re expecting can make a big difference in the health of your own teeth and gums, as well as build a strong foundation for your child’s future oral health.
If you would like more information on dental health and care during pregnancy, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Pregnancy and Oral Health.”
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month
April is the official Oral Cancer Awareness Month. 100 new people in the US every day will be newly diagnosed with an oral cancer and one person every day will die from it. It is not rare and screening for it as important as cervical, prostate, breast and other cancer exams.
Your dentist can help. At New Town Dental Arts we have has the skills and the tools to ensure that early signs or pre-cancerous conditions are identified.
Oral cancer screening is a routine part of a thorough dental examination. Regular check-ups, including an examination of the entire mouth, are essential in the early detection of cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions. You may have a very small, but dangerous, oral spot or sore and not be aware of it. Your dentist and hygienist will carefully examine the inside of your mouth and tongue and in some patients may notice a flat, painless, white or red spot or a small sore. Although most of these are harmless, some are not. Harmful oral spots or sores often look identical to those that are harmless but testing can tell them apart. If you have a sore with a likely cause, your dentist may treat it and ask you to return for the re-examination.
Signs to look for:
- Oral cancer often starts as a tiny, unnoticed white or red spot or sore anywhere in the mouth.
- It can affect any area of the oral cavity including the lips, gum, cheeks, tongue and the hard or soft palate.
- A change in the way the teeth fit together.
- Oral cancer most often occurs in those who use tobacco in any form.
Other signs include:
- A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal
- A color change of the oral tissues
- A lump, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
- Pain, tenderness or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue
- Alcohol use combined with smoking greatly increases risk.
- Prolonged exposure to the sun increases the risk of lip cancer.
- Oral cancers can occur in people who do not smoke and have no other known risk factors. Oral cancer is more like to strike after age 40. Studies suggest that a diet high in fruits and vegetables may prevent the development of potentially cancerous lesions.
- There has been a nearly fivefold increase in incidence of oral cancer patients under age 40, many with no known risk factors. HPV 16 (human papilloma virus) is now implicated in young non-smoking cancer patients.
- The incidence of oral cancer in women has increased significantly largely due to an increase in women smoking. In 1950 the male to female ratio was 6:1 by 2002 it was 2:1.
Prevention and Detection
- The best way to prevent oral cancer is to avoid tobacco and alcohol use.
- Regular dental check-ups, including an examination of the entire mouth are essential in the early detection of cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions.
- Knowing the risk factors and seeing your dentist and hygienist for oral cancer screenings can help prevent this deadly disease. Routine use of the Pap smear since 1955, for example, dramatically reduced the incidence and mortality rates for cervical cancer in the United States.
Get a dental check-up, get a screening, it may save your life!
Oral Cancer foundation - oralcancerfoundation.org
The American Dental Association - ada.org
The American Cancer society - cancer.org
Invisalign® Special Event
Dr. Sebastiana G. Springmann of New Town Dental Arts
Complimentary invisalign® Consultation
$500 OFF Invisalign treatment
Hurry! Offer ends February 28, 2012.
Ask about 6 months interest FREE payments*
FREE teeth whitening - a $500.00 value
*certain restrictions apply
(**Invisalign Full Case fee of $5850.00)
*Invisalign Special Event and associated promotions are hosted and sponsored by Dr. Sebastiana G. Springmann / New Town Dental Arts and not by Align Technology, Inc.
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