5 Facts about Traditional Toothpaste

Toothpaste is widely regarded as a necessity in the daily routine of cleaning our teeth, but perhaps that notion is worth reconsidering. Countless times, dentists are asked which toothpaste brand is right for patients. Indeed, there is a reason why there has yet to be a declared winner. Dental experts maintain that in the path towards cleaner and whiter teeth, it is not so much a matter of which toothpaste to use. That is because traditional toothpaste does not hold a very high influence at all in this regard. Here is why:

 The Truth About Toothpaste

1. In reality, toothpaste is only a cosmetic product. It does not whiten your teeth so much as freshen your mouth. While our mouths may feel fresher after a brushing session, it is only due to the intense flavor of the paste; plenty of plaque and bacteria will still be left to continue thriving because most traditional toothpastes lack the ingredients to remove them effectively.

2. With the above in mind, remember: Using more toothpaste does not equal a better clean. Television commercials show a generous amount of toothpaste applied on a brush, but they are not really showing you the correct amount – they are simply encouraging you to be wasteful so you run out quicker and have to buy their brand more often. That equates to marketing dollars for them and no added cleanliness for you.

3. The official website of the ADA (American Dental Association) even has a section devoted to toothpaste, and you will not find anything in it that pertains to cleaner teeth. Granted, it sets fluoride requirements which some studies say can contribute to long-term enamel health and strength. However, there is no mention of any toothpaste’s effect on overall oral cleanliness and hygiene.

4. Here is a breakdown of what most toothpaste brands really contain: Fluoride for enamel strengthening; Sodium Lauryl Sulfate for the foaming action we see in toothpaste; Abrasive particles like silica, calcium carbonate, or chalk whose “grittiness” is used to slightly polish teeth; Desensitizers  that help sensitive teeth but still do not clean them; Tartar control agents that can burn mouths that sensitive to a higher pH; and Triclosan, which is claimed to fight against oral infections but is also suspected of being an endocrine disruptor and possible carcinogen.

5. It is not the toothpaste that removes plaque and makes your teeth whiter – it is the actual brushing technique that keeps your teeth clean. Learning and applying the proper brushing technique, and making sure you are brushing for at least two minutes, is more important than debating which brand of toothpaste to use.

Using Holistic Toothpaste Alternatives

There is a wide variety of alternatives to traditional toothpaste, using only ingredients that are not detrimental to our health. Some toothpaste alternatives use natural abrasives like charcoal and bentonite clay – they contain the right amount of grit to polish teeth while also altering the pH in our mouths to neutralize bacteria and make it harder for it to grow. These kinds of alternatives may be worth some invested individual research. Some patients are comfortable making the leap to such unconventional ingredients, while some remain skeptical or reluctant to try an orally applied product with, say, charcoal in it. One thing is certain: regardless of what is on your brush, what matters most is the actual brushing – brush correctly, brush diligently, brush often.

If you are looking for a healthier alternative route to better brushing without traditional toothpaste, it is best to talk with a local holistic dentist about your best choices.

Holistic dentistry in Anchorage, Alaska

Why is Holistic Dentistry Important?

More people are adopting the holistic approach to better health and wellness. Dentistry is one particular field where many practitioners have chosen to use holistic methods.

Of course, holistic dentistry can and is often misinterpreted and misunderstood when compared to “traditional” dentistry. Many times, it is perceived that “holistic” dentistry and “traditional” dentistry are two completely different, mutually exclusive practices and that any given practitioner MUST be one or other. So before we start exploring the value of holistic dentistry, it is extremely crucial to remember: every dentist is different. He or she can borrow from both holistic and traditional schools of thought. Now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s explore what makes holistic dentistry so special!

BACKGROUND OF HOLISTIC DENTISTRY

The term “holistic” is a reference to “the whole.” So holistic dentistry doesn’t just address your teeth and mouth – it addresses factors that have implications for your entire health and well-being. A holistic dentist will focus on educating their patients on how dentistry plays a major role in their overall health. For example, did you know your dental and oral health can have a direct effect on sleep apnea (and vice versa)? In fact, some dentists even offer things like Ortho-Tain to help resolve sleep apnea issues! General health concerns are completely in considered when you visit a holistically oriented dentist.

 

EXAMPLES OF HOLISTIC DENTISTRY

Another benefit of holistic dentistry is that practitioners pay very close attention to the effects their dental appliances and materials will have on your overall health. Here are some examples:

  • Holistic dentists tend to avoid things like mercury amalgam fillings. Mercury, of course, is poisonous to our bodies. Even the smallest amounts will put your overall health at great risk. As a metal, mercury fillings can also put extreme pressure on your tooth and as a result, will last longer than the tooth itself.
  • Root canals are addressed with extreme caution and attention to detail, as holistic dentists understand that 100% sterilization of the canal is difficult to achieve. Also, some sterilization chemicals in fact toxic, such as formaldehyde. Leftover bacteria in the canal can also lead to things like breast cancer and heart disease. Many holistic dentists will instead recommend the total extraction of the tooth, but would prefer to provide detailed insights towards preventing symptoms in the first place.
  • Holistic dentists prefer topical fluoride is favored over ingested fluoride. Ingested fluoride can cause health defects like cancer and bone damage, and research has shown that it has no real benefit to your teeth.

Take the time to ask what your local holistic dentist can do for you and your family. You may find that as you utilize this form of care for your mouth and teeth, your overall health will improve as well, leading to a happier, healthier life!

healthy foods for sleep apnea diet in Anchorage, Alaska

Eating Right When You Have Sleep Apnea

There is a growing awareness that sleep apnea and oral hygiene have much to do with each other. However, many patients would be surprised if their dentist asked them about their sleeping patterns. The truth is our oral cavity has a direct role in the cause of sleep apnea – a disorder caused by inhibited breathing pathways. What we eat, how we eat, and how our mouths allow the passage of air are all important factors – factors that have a much more obvious association with dental health.

Dentists will, of course, tell you to avoid the traditional sugary treats in order to improve dental health. I want to go a step further and offer some tips that are not only good for dental health – they are great for sleep health. If you suffer from sleep apnea, try adding more of these foods into your daily diet this summer:

  1. Fruits and vegetables: Rich in nutrients and fibers – and of course low on calories – fruits and vegetables are ideal substitutes for cookies and candy. Also, fiber promotes a longer feeling of fullness; the longer you feel full, the less likely you are to overeat. This is especially crucial, as most sleep apnea sufferers tend to be overweight. Just avoid bananas (we’ll get to that later, promise).
  2. Low-fat dairy products: Full of vitamin D, protein, and calcium, low-fat dairy also helps you feel fuller, longer. Try swapping out whole milk, heavy cream, and cheddar cheese for skim or low-fat milk and part-skim mozzarella cheese. Again, these foods will help promote healthy weight management, which in turn aids in your sleep apnea management.
  3. Plant-based oils: Overweight sleep apnea sufferers can also benefit from the unsaturated fats from plant-based oils as a great substitute for saturated fats in butter and margarine. Oils from canola, olives, safflowers, sunflowers, flaxseeds, and of course vegetables mean a wide variety of options.
  4. Whole grains: Whole grains operate in much of the same way as fruits and vegetables – they are richer in nutrients and fibers, which makes you feel fuller for a longer amount of time. Breads and cereals have a wide variety of whole grain options, and you can also opt for wild or brown rice, pearled barley, and old-fashioned oats.

Watch out for the following foods, which can make sleep apnea conditions worse:

  1. Bananas: While most fruits are great for improving sleep apnea symptoms, bananas are an exception. They actually can increase mucus production, which can make breathing problems worse while you sleep. The softer and more over-ripe they are, the more likely they can be to contributing to your problem.
  2. High-fat dairy: We already explained why low-fat dairy is a better option compared to high-fat products. The reason is simple: they are higher in fat! Since sleep apnea and obesity have a direct relationship, it will benefit you to cut out heavy cream, whole milk, cheddar cheese, butter, etc.
  3. High-fat meats: Because curbing fat intake is so crucial to addressing sleep apnea, beef and pork should be eaten very sparingly at best. The same goes for fried chicken and fish. When NOT fried, however, fish can be extremely beneficial. As an Alaskan staple, salmon’s high Omega-3 yield is optimal for maintaining ideal fat intake.
  4. Refined carbs: These foods are why whole grain options (mentioned above) are a better choice; refined carbohydrates contain a high amount of added sugar – already on the “unapproved” list as far as dentists are concerned. Their likelihood of contributing to weight gain is obviously higher, and will increase the risk of sleep apnea symptoms.

If you are concerned about how your oral health or diet may be affecting or even causing sleep apnea, it might be a good time to contact your local comprehensive, holistic dental expert.

Foods that can damage your teeth

8 Foods that Damage Your Teeth

Taking care of your teeth is a life-long endeavor that is well worth your time. Beyond the typical lecture, you probably got from your parents about sugar rotting your teeth, other foods that can cause some significant damage to your teeth. Here’s a few:

  • Sticky Foods: The sticky food list doesn’t just contain chewy candies like Hot Tamales or Gummy Bears. You also need to watch out for dried fruit. Dried fruit often contain significant amounts of added sugar, and since they are sticky, they tend to hang out on your teeth longer keeping that sugar around. If you enjoy dried fruits like most of us, just make a point to floss carefully after eating some and rinse your mouth out with water.
  • Soda: No real surprises here. There are a few culprits in carbonated drinks, even diets ones. They are almost all high in acid, which can erode enamel. Sugary sodas sipped over an extended period lead to plaque bacteria, and finally, the caffeinated sodas can result in dry mouth (see alcohol below).
  • Alcohol: Drinking alcohol can dry out your mouth, and excessive dry mouth can lead to some very unhealthy teeth. Saliva helps your mouth in various ways including keeping food particles from sticking to your mouth and even repairing smaller, early signs of gum disease or tooth decay.
  • Ice: On a hot summer day, it might seem refreshing to chew on some ice, but it has the potential to chip, crack or even break your teeth. If you have crowns, it even possible to loosen them by chewing on hard substances like ice. So enjoy it in your beverage and leave it there!
  • Sour Candy: Did you know that sour candies especially contain not only more but also different kinds of acids that are more damaging to your teeth? Like dried fruit, the chewiness can stick to your teeth and stay there until you brush next, meaning that the acids and sugar remain on your teeth longer than they should.
  • Bread: If you’ve ever eaten bread, especially white bread, you’re probably familiar with the embarrassing gummy paste-like substance that gets between your teeth after lunch. That’s your saliva breaking the starches in the bread into sugar. Obviously, sugars are bad for your teeth and also for your body.
  • Citrus: The acid in fruit like lemons, oranges, limes, and grapefruits can make your teeth more vulnerable to decay by eroding enamel. If you want to have some lemon water with dinner, enjoy it, just remember to rinse afterward.
  • Coffee: You knew this one was going to end up on the list, didn’t you? Drinking too much coffee will end up staining your teeth, and if you add too much sugar or sugary elements (mocha, syrups, etc.), you are back to the problem of the sugar contributing to decaying teeth.

While life may be full of choices, the ones to protect your teeth will serve you well throughout your life. It’s worth having even some of your favorite foods in moderation to protect your pearly whites. The health of your teeth affects most areas of your overall health, and if you are interested in learning more about how, contact your local, integrative health dentist.

What are the Pros & Cons of Dentures in Anchorage?

What are the Pros and Cons of Dentures in Anchorage?

Dentures have long been an affordable and practical method for improving the quality of your smile, your ability to eat a variety of foods, and even your self-confidence. Unfortunately, many people recoil at the idea, envisioning the set of teeth floating in a glass of water next to the bed. Dentures have come a long way in recent years and are worth a second look for anyone struggling with missing or decayed teeth.

Types of Dentures

There are four main types of dentures, and your Anchorage dentist can help you determine which one is best depending on your specific needs.

  1. Conventional or complete dentures are fully removable and are usually the ones people think of when they envision the teeth in the glass of water. With this style, you will usually have any remaining teeth removed, and your dentures will be fitted once your jaw and tissues have healed.
  2. Partial dentures fill in the spaces where you might have missing teeth. You must have some teeth that are in good working order that stay in your mouth for partial dentures to work.
  3. Overdentures utilize some remaining teeth as anchors, but the dentures still fit over everything, giving you a uniform, beautiful smile.
  4. Immediate dentures are removable and are ones you can wear out of the dentist’s office on the same day your old teeth are removed. This is nice because you won’t have to be without teeth while your gums heal, but immediate dentures often need to be remade once the healing is finished.

Pros of Getting Dentures

  1. Modern dentures are more comfortable than earlier models and look more natural.
  2. Dentures make speaking easier.
  3. Dentures make eating easier.
  4. Dentures give you a beautiful smile.
  5. Dentures can support your facial muscles, providing a more youthful appearance.

Cons of Getting Dentures

  1. Getting the right type of dentures for you is a process that requires multiple trips to the dentist and possible tooth removal.
  2. You will need to get used to them. They can feel a little weird at first and may even cause some soreness. You may need to learn how to pronounce some sounds differently with dentures.
  3. Eating with dentures takes some practice.
  4. Dentures are fragile when not in your mouth, and you will need to take care of them.
  5. Dentures do wear out about every five years and need to be replaced.

Depending on why you are considering getting dentures, the con list may seem like minor inconveniences to you. If you still have questions and would like to talk to someone, please give us a call to set up a consultation. We would love to chat about your many options.

Anchorage sedation dentistry safe and comfortable way to visit the dentist

Overcome Your Fear of the Dentist: The Benefits of Sedation Dentistry

If the very idea of going to the dentist feels you with fear and anxiety, you are not alone. Colgate estimates about 30-40 million people choose to suffer from tooth or mouth pain rather than face going to the dentist. Sedation dentistry is available in Anchorage and offers a safe, comfortable way to take care of your teeth.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

In sedation dentistry, medicine is used to relax you during your dental procedure. It can be a part of even the simplest procedures as well as the complicated or time-consuming. There are four standard levels of sedation:

  • Minimal sedation– you stay awake but are very relaxed.
  • Moderate sedation– you are awake, but won’t remember much of the experience, and you’ll probably slur your words.
  • Deep sedation– you are hovering on the edge of being conscious but still awake. You likely won’t remember anything at all about the procedure.
  • General anesthesia– usually used for complex surgical procedures and for extreme phobia suffers. You will be completely unconscious.

Who Can Benefit from Sedation Dentistry?

  • People with a phobia about dentists
  • If you have a low pain threshold
  • Those who struggle to sit still in the dentist’s chair
  • If you have very sensitive teeth
  • If you have an overactive gag reflex
  • People who need a significant amount of dental work done

What are the Benefits of Sedation Dentistry?

  • The dentist will be able to get the work done faster since you will be relaxed enough to not move around much if at all.
  • You can relax knowing you won’t be filling any fear or anxiety during the procedure. You can even take a pill about an hour before that can help you relax prior to arriving at the dentist.
  • Depending on the level of sedation you will fill little to no pain during the procedure due to the medication. Often your dentist will still use topical anesthesia where they are working.
  • You’ll be memory free! Especially if you have past memories of a horrible dental experience, you probably don’t want to remember this one. Especially if you go with deep sedation or general anesthesia, you will have no memories of the work that was done, just the benefits of your dentist’s handiwork.

Don’t let your fear of the dentist keep you in pain or put the health of your teeth at risk. There are options! Sedation dentistry is available in Anchorage and we can help you have the best experience possible.

Little boy sleeping. Ortho-Tain is a safe treatment for Sleep Apnea in children

Ortho-Tain Safely Treats Sleep Apnea in Kids

Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder in which a person repeatedly stops breathing and then starts again. While it is more common in adult males, children can also suffer from it as well. In fact, more and more studies seem to link intention, bad behavior, ADD and ADHD with a lack of sleep and poor sleep quality in children. Ortho-Tain can help Anchorage children get better sleep and improve their quality of life.

What is Ortho-Tain?

Ortho-Tain is a removable orthodontic appliance that can not only be worn by teens and adults but also by children as young as five. The appliance is custom made to fit your teeth and can be worn during the evening as well as during the day. For many people, it is a safe, efficient and affordable alternative to traditional braces.

In addition to offering an alternative to traditional sleep apnea treatments, Ortho-Tain can treat a variety of conditions including overbite, overjet or buckteeth, spacing issues, crowding, TMJ disorders, and malocclusion.

How Does Ortho-Tain Help with Sleep Apnea in Children?

Ortho-Tain offers two appliances, the Nite-Guide and the Occlus-o-Guide, that can make a dramatic impact on the quality of your child’s sleep. Originally, both appliances were designed to straighten teeth, and they still do a very effective job at that. In additional they have been found to promote the healthy downward and outward growth and development of both the upper and lower jaw. This is critical because sleep problems like sleep apnea come from kids not getting enough oxygen while they sleep. When their upper and lower jaw has developed correctly, then their airways can expand fully providing for more oxygen and better sleep quality. The Nite-Guide and the Occlus-0-Guide are both appliances worn while sleeping and can also eliminate teeth grinding and reduce snoring.

Early diagnosis and orthodontic treatment in children as young as 5 is not something most parents traditionally consider. However, some Anchorage dentists are hoping to change that mindset. Early treatment tends to be less invasive and shorter in duration. This has many obvious benefits for both child and parents including:

  • Better sleep earlier in a child’s life can reduce or eliminate issues like anxiety, moodiness, hyperactivity, sleep apnea, ADHD, etc.
  • Shorter treatment times
  • Lower costs
  • Reduction or elimination of more traditional braces later in a child’s teens, which tend to be more expensive, invasive, and painful
  • Early treatment can catch and treat medical conditions like TMJ and stop it before it develops.

Sleep apnea can be a contributing factor if your child is suffering from behavioral issues or even just struggling to pay attention. Ortho-Tain is an option that is less invasive and expensive than traditional sleep apnea treatments and can address teeth issues in addition to the sleep problems.

How Often Should you Brush Your Teeth?

shutterstock_284497142_720How often do you brush your teeth?

The standard that many people grew up hearing from their dentist is “Brush twice a day.” But when should you brush? What if you can only brush one time – when should you do it to be most effective? If twice is good then would four times be better? Is there a bad time to brush?

Our basic advice – Brush twice a day for two minutes each time.

To make things a little more clear we have some additional tidbits for you to keep in mind.

The Culprits –

  • Sugary foods, especially sticky or liquid varieties that coat your teeth, is food for bacteria. As the bacteria metabolize the sugar they produce acids that lead to gum disease and cavities.
  • Acidic foods are just as detrimental to teeth for the same reasons as sugary foods. Except they’re acidic from the very beginning.
    Did you know that the pH of a diet soda is about the same as household vinegar?

The Problem –

Eating or drinking something acidic lowers the pH of a mouth and it can take a long time for it to return to normal. Acid demineralizes your teeth and weakens the tooth surface, leaving it vulnerable to decay.

The Exacerbation –

Brushing your teeth while your mouth’s pH level is too low can actually cause more damage. Your toothbrush and toothpaste are abrasive and will etch your weakened tooth surface even more. Waiting at least thirty minutes will allow your saliva to stabilize your pH.

Your toothbrush can cause more damage just by how it’s made. Nylon threads are sliced to make an even row of bristles, but the cut leaves a very jagged edge on the bristles. Most high quality toothbrushes will undergo another step that softens the edges into domes. The rounded edges are far less abrasive on your teeth but just as effective at removing debris. Even if your toothbrush had rounded edges when you took it out of the package, regular use will cause them to get worn back, jagged, and split – making them more abrasive. When you start noticing your toothbrush getting worn go ahead and replace it. If you wait until the bristles are splayed then it’s too late.

The Alternatives –

  • Rinse your mouth with water. This will help restore your mouth’s pH to a normal level. R
  • Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash will help to prevent plaque from producing more acids which is a big step in keeping your pH levels balanced as well.
  • Chew some cheese. Chewy things will make you salivate, and the proteins in your saliva help to block the acids. And the chemicals that naturally occur in cheese help to re-mineralize teeth.
    Having a little cheese with your wine is good for your health!
  • Sugarless gum is another great option. Again, the chewing action stimulates your saliva production which, in turn, helps to balance your mouth’s pH. Some studies have also shown that Xylitol, a sweetening agent, has properties that prevent cavities.

The Timing –

Bedtime is the most critical time to brush your teeth. You salivate less at bedtime which allows bacteria and acids to spend more time weakening your tooth surface. If you brush before bed then you’ll be reducing the number of culprits that can damage your teeth.

So to answer our earlier questions – You should brush before bedtime and thirty minutes after eating a sugary or acidic mea. If you can only brush once, brush before bed. Brushing more often is not necessarily better because you could potentially be weakening your teeth. The worst time to brush is after eating or drinking something acidic – rinse with water instead.

We want to see you every six months for your regular visits, but we’d prefer not to tell you that you need fillings or worse. Call us to schedule an appointment!

 

Here’s a little cheat sheet –

Brush 2x a day.
Brush for at least 2 minutes each time.
If you can only brush once, brush at bedtime.
Rinse with water after sugary or acidic foods.
Use new, good quality brushes.

A Dentist Approved Halloween

candy apple

Halloween is one the most beloved holidays for children everywhere. What kid doesn’t like getting bags and buckets full of candy? As a dentist, of course this holiday brings in a lot of questions. I’m here to tell you, not all dentists are the Scrooges of Halloween.

Dentists love candy as much as everyone else. But, we’ve seen what it can do to your teeth so we have a few tips to keep up your oral health while enjoying some treats this holiday season.

  • Timing is everything. Eat candy and other sugary foods with your meal or shortly afterwards. Your saliva production increases when you eat – this will help cancel out acids produced by the bacteria that loves sugar and help rinse away food particles.
  • Choose wisely. Avoid hard candies and other treats that stay in your mouth for an extended time. The longer sugary food stays in your mouth, the more decay it will cause.
  • Pick your poison. Avoiding sugary drinks like soda, sports drinks, and flavored water will decrease your risk for tooth decay. So if you plan on drinking a soda, skip the candy. Sugary drinks on top of sugary foods will just compound your risk.
  • Avoid sticky situations. Sticky candies with, wait for it….stick to your teeth. The stronger the sticking factor, the longer they’ll take to wash away, giving those bacteria lots of chances to feast.
  • Chew on this – chewing on sugarless gum for 20 minutes after a meal reduces tooth decay. When you chew gum it increases your saliva flow and helps to wash away food and neutralize acids.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay. But even regular water will benefit your oral health. Remaining properly hydrated will ensure that you have plenty of saliva to wash away sugar and food.
  • Eat right. Even when you’re not eating candy, you need to make sure that your diet is well balanced. The health of your body is directly connected to the health of your teeth.
  • Brush twice a day. Two minutes at a time. And remember to replace your tooth brush when the bristles look worn.
  • Get between your teeth. We can’t stop stressing how important it is to floss your teeth. Your tooth brush can’t get everywhere and sticky, chewy, nutty, candies love to hide in between your teeth.
  • Come visit me! Regular check-ups and cleanings will keep your mouth nice and healthy and ready to fight any decay that might threaten when you indulge in Halloween treats!

We also have some tips for helping your kids through this season!

  • Don’t deprive them! For a lot of kids being told they can’t have something will only drive them to want it more. This is when you get kids sneaking and hiding the candy. If you don’t know what their eating you can’t help to minimize the impact.
  • Go through the treats together. Have them pick out a predetermined number that they want right now and help them sort out another portion that REALLY want in the future. They’ll love that you trust them.
  • Out of sight, out of mind. Hide the treats they didn’t choose, donate them, or toss them.
  • Teach them. Share with them the tips we gave you above and help them make good choices. Remind them that starchy foods can be as bad as sugary foods because they stay in the mouth longer.
  • Set a treat time. This will teach them moderation and keep them from begging you all day long. Plus, it will allow you to give them their treat at the healthiest time.
  • Have a schedule for teeth brushing. Kids like to know what to expect, especially if it’s activities that they might not find the most appealing. Make teeth brushing part of bed time and morning rituals.

 

According to a Delta Dental survey in 2011 over 60% of dentists surveyed gave out candy – and of those an overwhelming 79% chose to give out chocolate. Only 5% of dentists admitted to handing out toothbrushes! So we suggest you head to your dentists house because odds are good that you’ll get chocolate!

Is Dental Work Safe During Pregnancy?

shutterstock_144260533Yes, most dental procedures are perfectly safe while you are pregnant!

Pregnancy is full of health questions, not just about yourself, but about the baby that you’re growing. We believe that pregnancy should be a time of joy, not a time of worry. So let’s get some of those dental questions off your mind.

Pregnancy is only nine months, can’t I just be a few months late on my bi-annual cleaning?
Absolutely not. You are actually more likely to experience dental problems when you are pregnant. Pregnancy Gingivitis is caused by the changing hormone levels in your body. Any change in these levels allows bacteria to thrive in your mouth and gums. And thriving bacteria means increased periodontal disease. If you notice any tenderness, bleeding, or gum swelling, contact your dentist as soon as possible.
Morning sickness is also a concern to your oral health. Stomach acid from the nausea and vomiting common during the first trimester rapidly breaks down the protective enamel of your teeth. Try using a bland toothpaste if brushing your teeth is triggering your gag reflex. And always make sure to rinse your mouth with water or (preferably) mouthwash after a bout of vomiting.
Preventative dental treatments, exams, and check-ups are critical in order to avoid infections that have been linked to preterm birth.

Does my dentist need to know I’m pregnant?
Absolutely! We need to know about any changes that you’re going through. Pay close attention to anything that seems different in your mouth and let us know when you come in. We also need to know about any medications and pre-natal vitamins you may be taking as they affect your dental plan or interact with prescriptions that we might need to provide you for any infections or pain management.

Are procedures like root canals and fillings safe?
If at all possible, procedures like this should be done during the second trimester. The first and third trimesters are the most critical times during a baby’s development and it’s wise to take as few risks possible during this time. The second trimester is generally considered to be the most comfortable – relatively free of morning sickness and body discomfort.
Lidocaine is a Category B drug and can be safely used in small amounts. The most important thing during dental work is your comfort though. When you are uncomfortable that causes your body stress and that stress is shared by your baby. So if you’re pain free then the procedure will be safer for everyone involved. There are many antibiotics that are also Category B that can be prescribed after your treatment. Penicillin, amoxicillin and clindamycin are all considered to be safe during pregnancy.
All elective treatments such as teeth whitening should wait until after you deliver your baby.
Of course if you have an emergency then it can’t wait. But we will do our best to minimize any risks. The consequences of not treating an infection are far worse the risks presented by treatment.

Are X-rays safe while I’m pregnant?
Routine x-rays can usually be postponed until after birth. But if you have an emergency an x-ray might be necessary. According to the American College of Radiology, no single diagnostic x-ray has a radiation dose significant enough to cause adverse effects in a developing embryo or fetus. Advances in x-ray technology have made them far safer than in previous decades. But, if an x-ray is needed to proceed with your care, a lead apron should cover your body to add extra protection for you and your baby. You can never be too safe.

Proper oral care should be an integral part of your pregnancy plan. Make sure that you get your regular cleaning, treat any problems as soon as you notice them, brush regularly, and try to eat a healthy diet with plenty of calcium.