Family Friday: Pregnancy And Early Years
This is the first in a four-part series that will appear on Fridays focusing on dental issues for families with children.
Family means a lot to us. We love our families. In a way, we see everyone at Beaumont Family Dentistry as part of a family, too.
If you and your spouse are planning a family of your own, we want you to know that our dentist offices in Lexington can help you every step of the way. We will monitor your oral health before, during, and after your pregnancy, and we can care for your children from the moment they are born until they leave the house to start families of their own.
Today’s post will focus on issues that could affect you during your pregnancy and your children during their earliest years of life.
Pregnancy And Gum Disease
Pregnancy is a special time, although it’s not always like it’s portrayed on television commercials.
Your body goes through tremendous changes to prepare to bring a new life into the world. One of those changes involved the production of the hormone called progesterone.
Before you become pregnant, this hormone helps your uterus prepare to receive a fertilized egg. As it grows, your progesterone levels will increase. (After about 10 weeks, the placenta takes over the job of making this for you.) This helps create a healthy environment as the fetus develops.
The downside is that progesterone can affect blood vessels throughout your body, include your gums. This is why pregnant women are are a higher risk for developing gum disease.
To fight this, remember to continue following the American Dental Association guidelines. Brush your teeth twice a day. Floss every day. Keep your routine dental visits for cleanings and examinations. We will watch for signs and symptoms of gum disease, and we have the tools and training to treat it.
The early signs include bleeding gums when your brush or floss and gums that look redder or swollen. More advanced signs include receding gums, sore gums, and pus leaking from your gums.
If you notice any changes in your gums, feel free to call us with questions. If you see advanced signs, make an appointment with us as soon as possible.
Early Dental Care
Your son or daughter probably won’t have any teeth when he or she is first born. However, his or her dental care can and should start before the first tooth erupts.
In the first few months, you should use a moist cloth or gauze to wipe your child’s gums after feedings.
When that first tooth does emerge, it is important that you start brushing his or her tooth as well. When you have a tooth, you can get tooth decay.
To clean your child’s first teeth, you will need a small, soft-bristled toothbrush. You will want to use a bit of toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice to gently scrub the teeth a couple times each day.
Once your child has two teeth that are side-by-side, you should begin flossing between those teeth. Gently work the floss between them to remove plaque and bacteria that you can’t reach with a toothbrush.
You can bring your son or daughter for his or her first dental visit around the age of 2. We will discuss what we do during that first visit next Friday.
Treating Lip And Tongue Ties
Before we close, we want to discuss another oral health matter that is important to us. Many doctors will refer families to us if a child is having trouble nursing.
This may be the result of a lip or tongue tie. A lip tie occurs when a piece of tissue connecting your upper lip and your gums in a way the limits the movement of your lip. A tongue tie occurs when the tissue that connects your tongue to your mouth limits how far your tongue can press forward.
Babies with lip and tongue ties often have problems nursing due to those issues. In our office, we can help through laser treatment.
The laser may sound scary, but it’s actually a safe and pain-free way to loosen the connecting tissues. This will allow greater movement of the lip, tongue, or both, and that will improve your child’s ability to nurse and get the nutrition he or she needs.
Call With Questions
Being a parent is fun, exciting, and a little scary, too. If we can answer any dental questions or concerns, feel free to call any Beaumont Family Dentistry in Lexington. If we can help, we are happy to do so.
If you would like to make an appointment, we are here for that, too. You can reach us by calling the office that is most convenient for you or by filling out our online form. We look forward to seeing you and your baby for years to come.