Dental care during pregnancy
Good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups with your Bellevue family dentist are essential for you and your unborn child.
The increased acid of frequent morning sickness may weaken tooth enamel. Brush teeth and rinse with a fluoride mouthwash, or rinse with a mixture of baking soda and water to help neutralize stomach acids.
Diet and cravings
Teeth begin to form between the third and sixth month of pregnancy. It is important to follow a healthy diet as instructed by your physician or midwife. Many women find their preferences and taste change during pregnancy. More snacking, especially on sweets, can cause an increase in dental decay. Try to snack on foods that contain little or no sugar and that provide the nutrients you and your baby need to be healthy.
Pregnancy hormones can cause the gums to swell and bleed. They may feel sore, and you may see gum growth between the teeth. These symptoms may appear around the second or third month of pregnancy. You should have a dental cleaning and checkup. Your Spektor Dental team will pay special attention to your gum health. Maintain a healthy diet and talk to your dentist or hygienist about proper technique for brushing and flossing.
Dental radiographs during pregnancy
Always tell your dentist or hygienist if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. In general, radiographs may be taken during pregnancy when it is necessary to make a diagnosis and determine a specific treatment. Proper precautions such as the use of a lead apron provide adequate protection for both you and your unborn child.
Elective dental treatment
The second trimester of pregnancy is generally the safest and most comfortable time for dentistry. If you have a history of miscarriage, you might postpone elective dental treatment until you are well into your second trimester or until after delivery.
Please let us know about any specific concerns you may have during this special time in your life. We want to help ensure your dental health and comfort during your pregnancy. Call with questions: (425) 454-1322.
Dental care for babies and toddlers
Dental care begins at home, before the first teeth erupt.
- Wipe baby’s gums with a soft, moist cloth after feedings.
- As teeth begin to appear, gently wipe them, too.
- At age 1, take baby to your dentist or physician for a first visual check of baby’s teeth. A fluoride painting may be warranted.
- At age 2, use a soft toothbrush with a pea-sized amount of children’s toothpaste and brush your toddler’s teeth daily.
- Take your child to a first dental visit by age 3 for a cleaning and exam and to let them get to know each other.
Baby bottle cavities
This tooth decay begins around age 1 to 2, usually with the upper two teeth. Primary or baby teeth decay much faster than adult teeth. These cavities can quickly destroy the teeth if left untreated.
Prevent decay in baby teeth:
- Do not add sugar or sweeteners to baby’s bottles.
- Do not put your baby to sleep or rock your baby with a bottle. It can be difficult to stop later.
- After feedings, use a soft cloth or gauze to gently wipe away bacteria from your baby’s gums, even before the first teeth erupt.
- Brush your child’s teeth or provide assistance until at least the age of 5.
- Once your child can brush alone, continue to use only a pea-sized amount of children’s fluoride toothpaste.
- If you have well water, ask your pediatrician or dentist about fluoride drops.
Weaning toddlers from bedtime bottles:
- Substitute plain water for milk at night.
- If your baby refuses water:
- Add small amounts of water to the milk over time.
- Allow a few ounces of milk before bedtime followed by two ounces of water in a clean bottle to rinse the teeth.
- Be firm and consistent.
How can I tell if my young child has cavities?
- Sit knee-to-knee facing another adult. With your child facing one adult, tip your child back into your lap and look down into the mouth.
- Wipe the saliva from the backs of teeth with a soft cloth or gauze.
- Look for colored spots or holes, especially in the back of the upper front teeth.
- Contact your dentist if you note any areas of concern.
Since baby teeth fall out anyway, why is dental care important?
- Baby teeth help your child chew foods and develop proper speech.
- Baby teeth hold space for permanent teeth and support proper bone growth.
- Decay can lead to infections in your toddler’s mouth.
- Early brushing and flossing habits support lifelong care and attention.
Athletic mouth guards are essential protective equipment. According to the American Dental Association, mouth guard use reduces the risk of dental-related sports injuries. Ask us about a custom-fitted mouth guard for your child.
Acrylic bite splints
We make Essix bite protectors to hold space and to prevent clenching.
Our bite (also called occlusion), changes over time. Customized night guards are used to help those who experience jaw pain due to tired muscles caused by grinding or clenching. They can also help preserve your dental investment (orthodontia, veneers and crowns). Talk to your dentist about the type of night guard right for you.
Care Instructions for your bite guard
- Watch for wear and bring your guard to your dental checkups for inspection and cleaning.
- Clean each morning with a toothbrush or toothpaste, and soak in denture cleaner for a few minutes and rinse once a week.
- Store your guard in a dry container.
We want to help you keep your own teeth, for a lifetime of healthy smiles!
- Continue to see your dentist for regular cleanings.
- Let your dentist know about any medications or medical conditions you have.
- Inform your dentist if you have an artificial heart valve, joint replacement or need to take antibiotics before dental services for any reason.
Teeth tell our age. We can help you keep them guessing:
- If missing teeth create gaps in your smile, or if missing back teeth make it hard to chew, ask us if you might be a candidate for a dental implant.
- Teeth shorten with wear as we age. Veneers can lengthen teeth and even help plump the lower face slightly for a more youthful appearance.
- Cavities can form around aging dental work. Ask us about new products that stop early decay from progressing.
- Smiles yellow over time. You can whiten teeth, reduce cavities and improve gum health: Use 10 percent carbamide peroxide (available at the drugstore as Gly-oxide) in custom trays made by your dentist. This may help improve oral health in older adults, according to the Journal of the American Dental Association.
- Ask us about subtle facial enhancement with Botox and dermal fillers.
You are never too old for a youthful, healthy smile! Call our office for your regular checkup or cosmetic smile consultation at (425) 454-1322.