Preconception Tip #1: Dental Check
I just got back from my mercury- free dentist here in Hong Kong. As advised by my doctor and naturopath, I wanted to take care of outstanding dental work and to get a good cleaning before getting pregnant.
Why you may ask is it important to visit your dentist before you conceive? Let’s answer that question now.
First, pregnancy takes a toll on the body, especially the gums and teeth. Due to the fluctuation of hormones, the immune system is extra sensitive which means that any dental plaque that is already present can take a turn for the worse rather quickly.
Second, bacteria in mom’s mouth can and usually is directly transferred to the womb. Not ideal for baby’s growth and development.
Third, some believe that heavy metals found in fillings can be a considerable concern as mercury can cross the placenta barrier. Take a look in your mouths (mom and dad) and if you do have any dark fillings be sure to have them examined so that if they are confirmed to be mercury you can discuss removing them prior to conception.
What the research says:
- One study in the Journal of the American Dental Association stated that women with gum disease were 4-7 times more likely to deliver a premature baby.
- Another study in the J Clin fluoride stated that gum disease increased risks of miscarriage.
- This study conducted in 2008 concluded that women of childbearing age should avoid the use of mercury fillings.
How to keep your teeth healthy:
While the reviews are mixed on the use of fluoride, make sure you are brushing twice a day with some kind of toothpaste as well as flossing.
Cutting down on sugary foods, such as candy, juices and sodas as well as increasing vitamin-rich foods such as calcium (bone broth, fatty fish, tahini, goat yogurt) and vitamin C (kiwis, peppers, oranges, kale) will give your teeth a good chance at staying healthy.
It is important to note that while gum disease, and tooth decay can surface quite quickly, it is also easy to prevent and reverse with daily attention and proper dental cleanings.
Some women might prefer not to find themselves six months pregnant, needing x-rays, decay rescue, mercury removal or fighting a bought of gum disease. While dentists recommend dental cleanings during pregnancy, some of the more intense work might be best solved beforehand.
Preconception Action Step:
The message to take away is that being proactive about dental work and beginning your prenatal journey with a healthy set of chompers is an important step in preconception care. Be sure to add a dental check-up to your preconception checklist today!