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Health & Fitness

Chelsea at Crunch Gym

Forty Weeks of Fitness!

Chelsea, our pregnancy fitness expert, is a certified personal trainer at Crunch gym in San Francisco, California. She gave birth to her daughter, Madeira Re, in July 2006. Read more






Dental Care

During your pregnancy, while you take extra care of your body by watching what you eat and drink, don't forget to take special care of your teeth and gums too. Your teeth and gums are affected by your pregnancy just like other parts of your body, and your oral health could affect the health of your unborn baby.

Approximately 50 percent of pregnant women experience a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. Frequent snacking, especially on sugary foods, can contribute to gingivitis, which can cause swelling, bleeding, redness, and tenderness of the gums. Since pregnant women often eat smaller meals more frequently without brushing after each snack, they may be bathing their teeth in plaque and bacteria. To prevent pregnancy gingivitis, make sure to brush your teeth after each meal and floss at least once a day.

If gingivitis is not treated, it can develop into periodontal disease, a more advanced gum infection that destroys the attachment fibers and supporting bone that hold your teeth in your mouth. Periodontal disease has been linked with low birth weight babies and preterm labor. Oral bacteria contain prostaglandin, one of the hormones that are known to cause labor.

Pregnancy tumors are another oral condition faced by many pregnant women. The tumors often appear as red, raw, painless lumps on the gums during the second trimester. Although they are not cancerous, they may be an indication of a serious oral condition because they are believed to be caused by excess plaque. The tumors usually subside after the baby is born; but if they persist, they should be surgically removed.

If possible, you should have a complete dental exam, and have any necessary procedures performed, before becoming pregnant. And while you are pregnant, you should continue to visit your dentist for regular cleanings. However, elective dental treatments such as x-rays, whitening, and bonding, should be avoided, especially during the first trimester. Dental treatments in general are not recommended during the third trimester because the tilt of the dental chair may reduce blood circulation, and lying on your back for an extended period of time may be uncomfortable.

Always check with your obstetrician before undergoing any dental treatment, and let your dentist know you are pregnant as soon as possible. The following are some procedures and medications often used in dental care that you may encounter while pregnant, as well as information on their safety:

X-Rays

Unnecessary x-rays are discouraged for pregnant women. However, if you must have an x-ray while you are pregnant, rest assured that the risk to your unborn baby is considered minimal, since your uterus is shielded by a lead apron and the amount of radiation that scatters during the x-ray and passes through parts of your body not covered by the apron is negligible. So if you develop a dental condition that requires an x-ray and not having one poses a risk to your health, go ahead and have it.

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