By SARAH PEACHEY
At the beginning of September, my husband and I found out we were expecting baby number two. While making my obstetrician appointments and the various doctor appointments for my first child, I also had to start making our dental appointments (and finding a good dentist). Pregnancy brings on many changes to a woman’s body, with a growing belly and lots and lots of hormonal changes which we know that during pregnancy can affect more than your mood — they can also affect your gums.
As one who is tries to be healthy and have a great smile – here are my top 10 tips regarding pregnancy and great dental health:
1. If you’re trying to get pregnant, schedule a visit with your dentist. When enrolled in the TDP, you are allowed two cleanings and 2 exams within a 12 month period. A cleaning and an exam may provide your dentist a preliminary assessment to compare to once you are pregnant.
2. When you are pregnant don’t forget your annual cleanings. Cleanings are not only allowed, but also extremely encouraged. When enrolled in the TDP, you will receive an additional third cleaning while pregnant.
3. Let your dentist know you’re pregnant (it’s normally a question on your intake forms) in case you need any further procedures.
4. Skip the major dental services and procedures if you’re in the second or third trimester of your pregnancy as these are key times in baby’s growth and development. Exceptions may be made depending on urgency.
5. Avoid x-rays. But know that if your dentist deems them necessary, the office should take all precautions to protect you and your growing baby.
6. Make (and keep!) your dental checkups. Keep an eye on your gums during your regular oral hygiene regiment and report any tenderness, bleeding or gum swelling.
7. Brush and floss every day. No exceptions!
8. Eat a healthy diet for you, your baby and your teeth
9. If you had any gum issues during your pregnancy, visit the dentist for another evaluation after you’ve given birth.
10. Continue great dental hygiene! Not only is it good for you, but you’re demonstrating to your child(ren) that taking care of your teeth is important.
If you’ve recently moved to a new area or haven’t scheduled an appointment since your last PCS, don’t forget to visit the Metlife TRICARE Dental Program website here. You can easily search for dentist that accepts the TRICARE coverage by simply entering your zip code under the “Find a Dentist” box and you’ll instantly see a list of participating providers! You can even select a specific form of dentistry you need, like orthodontics, pediatric dentists, general family dentistry and more. For more information visit the Metlife TRICARE Dental Program website at www.metlife.com/tricare, their Facebook page www.facebook.com/MetlifeTDP or call the customer service center at 1-855-638-8371.
Sarah Peachey is a 20-something journalist from Pennsylvania, finally back in the Mid-Atlantic after voyages to the Deep South and Southwest. She lives with her husband, infant daughter and two furbabies, with another human on the way. She began a career in journalism with The Fort Polk Guardian, an installation newspaper, winning three state awards for her work, and now freelances for military spouse support sites. She is an active blogger on MilitaryOneClick and her blog, “Stetsons, Spurs and Stilettos.” She enjoys spending her days on the shooting range or at home with a good book. She considers herself a bookworm, pianist, wine enthusiast and artist.