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Dental Care Matters During Pregnancy

Dental Care Matters During Pregnancy
By Julia Stanek

While it may not necessarily be the first consideration during pregnancy, dental care is incredibly important for not only your health, but also the health of your developing baby. Changing hormones can alter oral health, making it necessary to integrate a new oral hygiene routine during pregnancy. A mother’s oral health can directly affect her pregnancy and the developing baby, so it is important to know how to properly care for yourself and in turn, your baby. While an increase in risk of complications due to changes in hormone levels can be difficult to control, other factors such as proper oral hygiene, a healthy diet, and communication can help to alleviate severe complications due to maternal periodontal disease.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can directly affect oral health.
During pregnancy, your body begins to experience many changes, including hormonal changes. An increase in hormone levels during pregnancy causes the gums to swell, bleed, and begin to trap food, which can cause major irritation to the gums. This irritation may cause oral health care to become painful and difficult to maintain. These changes can also affect the body’s ability to respond to bacteria, resulting in a greater risk of acquiring periodontal infections. Hormonal changes can increase the risk of developing gum disease and gingivitis, which if left untreated may lead to a more severe type of gum disease called periodontitis.
Not only is oral care important in maintaining your own health, poor oral health can directly affect your developing baby.
Studies show a link between periodontitis and premature birth and low birth weight. Premature birth is the leading cause of infant mortality and low birth weight can cause breathing problems, infections, and intraventricular hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain) in newborns. Low birth weight babies are also more likely to face a myriad of severe conditions later in life such as diabetes, heart disease, and intellectual and developmental disabilities. Periodontal disease can also cause a condition call preeclampsia. Preeclampsia affects the mother as well as the developing baby. Mothers can experience severe symptoms and even life threatening complications, while the condition can also prevent the placenta from receiving enough blood (meaning your baby does not get sufficient food and oxygen).
Integrating oral hygiene into your daily routine is the best way to avoid complications.
Dentists recommend scheduling preventative exams and cleanings during pregnancy, however unnecessary dental work should be postponed until after birth. Make sure to communicate with your dentist that you are pregnant and be ready to provide the names and dosages of any medications or supplements you may be taking. Diet is also important to consider. The American Dental Association recommends pregnant women eat a balanced diet, brush teeth thoroughly twice daily, and floss regularly. Diets consisting of dairy products are a good source of essential minerals and are good for the developing gums, teeth and bones of your growing baby. Avoid sugary snacks and make sure to brush immediately after eating anything high in sugar.
Approximately 40% of pregnancies are complicated by some form of periodontal disease. Although not every complication during pregnancy may be avoidable, mothers who maintain good oral health throughout pregnancy are more likely to avoid a wide array of significant risks for a baby’s health both during and after pregnancy. Perhaps most importantly, maintaining knowledge and awareness about how a mother’s health can directly affect her developing baby can help to decrease risks of maternal periodontal disease. Dental care is always important, but as potential risks arise during pregnancy due to multiple factors, it is vitally important to keep dental care at the forefront of your mind during pregnancy.

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36 HEALTHY RECIPES FOR STRONG, CAVITY-FREE TEETH

Posted by  | May 27, 2015 | 

 

From the amount of research that’s been done, it’s become increasingly apparent that fluoride is a toxin and harmful for our teeth and bodies. As mama’s who care for our children, we can speak up and tell our dentist no to fluoride for our kids. There are healthier alternatives to your children having strong, cavity-free teeth without using neurotoxins. There are even natural solutions to turn to when little ones do develop a childhood cavity.

But what about the everyday stuff? How do we nourish our children’s bodies and keep their enamel healthy and decay free through our everyday choices? It all starts with the food we eat.

How Cavities Start

We’ve been taught that certain foods, like sugar and other acids erode enamel, creating a haven for bacteria to invade and causing cavities. But the issue is actually much deeper than that.

“Daily the calcium and phosphate of the enamel migrates out of the teeth to the bones, heart, brain and other places where it is needed. This is called by dentists demineralization.” (source)

Unless we are providing the body with the minerals it needs to function properly, the minerals in our teeth will continue to leech out. Our bodies don’t just need calcium though, they require water soluble and fat soluble vitamins and minerals.

Primitive people’s diets contained ten times more fat soluble vitamins than our average diet today. There was also little to no tooth decay. If you look at pictures of indigenous tribes in Africa today, their smiles are straight and very white, without modern dentistry.

So what should we be feeding our children to promote strong, cavity-free teeth?

Foods To Eat

These foods and nutrients should be incorporated into children’s every day meals. It’s also really important for pregnant and nursing mothers for the proper development of the baby they’re nurturing.

  • Fat soluble vitamins A, D, K and K2. These are found in grassfed dairy, aged cheeses, pastured butter, high vitamin butter oil and pastured meats. And yes, vitamin K and vitamin K2 really are two different nutrients.
  • Include regular protein throughout the day to help balance blood sugar. Dentist Dr. Melvin Page found that the incidence of tooth decay would increase when blood sugar levels raised above the 80-90 range. (source)
  • Increase mineral intake from bone broth high in gelatin, raw and cultured dairy products, and seafood products.
  • Fermented foods and probiotics are also a must have.
  • Fermented cod liver oilhigh vitamin butter and coconut oil provide necessary fat soluble nutrients.
  • Vegetables contain vitamins necessary for strong enamel, so a wide variety should be included.

Foods To Stay Away From

There’s a huge list of unacceptable foods listed in the Cure Tooth Decay book. Unless your child already has decay though, you can most likely get by on a real food diet. The Weston A. Price Foundation’s guidelines are a good place to start. Diets low in sugar, especially processed sugar, and high in fat soluble and water soluble minerals will prevent tooth decay in most cases. Some of the foods that can cause cavities include:

  • Refined flour and other grains, unless properly prepared
  • Refined and processed sugar
  • Prepackaged and fast food
  • Coffee, soda and sweeteners
  • Soymilk and tofu
  • Pasteurized milk products, even organic
  • Hydrogenated Oils – like margarine and low quality vegetable oils
  • Non-grass-fed meat and eggs, and farm raised fish

What About Cavities?

If your child already has weakened enamel, decay and cavities, then additional measures should be taken. The Cure Tooth Decay book is such a wealth of information on the subject, so at that point it would be best to get the book and follow its protocol.

36 Healthy Recipes For Strong, Cavity-Free Teeth

Main Dishes

Side dishes

Broth and Soup

Sweet Treats

Beverages

My son doesn’t have a perfect diet, but we do try to include strengthening and nourishing foods as often as possible. So far he hasn’t had any cavities, and I’m hoping that with diligence, it will stay that way.

 

REFERENCES:

Is dental insurance tax deductible?

Read more: Is dental insurance tax deductible? | Investopedia https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/112415/dental-insurance-tax-deductible.asp#ixzz52UfkKq00

A: Dental insurance premiums may be tax deductible. To be deductible as a qualifying medical expense, the dental insurance must be for procedures to prevent or alleviate dental disease, including dental hygiene and preventive exams and treatments. Dental insurance that is for purely cosmetic purposes, such as teeth whitening or cosmetic implants, would not be deductible.

Where Are Dental Insurance Premiums Deductible?

For most taxpayers, the cost of medical and dental insurance premiums paid during the tax year are deductible on form 1040 Schedule A as a medical and dental expense. Only the total of all qualifying medical and dental expenses, including insurance premiums, that when combined exceed 10% of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income (AGI), will actually be included in the total of all itemized deductions.

For example, if a couple has an AGI of $100,000 and a total of $8,000 of qualifying medical and dental expenses, including dental insurance premiums paid, then none of these expenses would be included as an itemized deduction. Ten percent of the AGI would be $10,000, which is greater than the couple’s total medical and dental expenses.

For a self-employed individual, the cost of dental insurance may be deducted on Form 1040, line 29, without having to itemize deductions on Form 1040 Schedule A with the 10% of AGI limitation described above.

Other Limitations

Dental insurance premiums paid with funds from a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) are not deductible, as these funds are pretax and the IRS does not allow a double tax benefit.

A cracked tooth

Chew on this: Dental coverage gives protection within limits

By Tom Murphy

Don’t forget about your teeth when you start considering 2018 insurance needs later this fall.

The annual sign-up window for many types of health insurance also is a good time to think about dental coverage. Many employers offer a chance to sign up for it during their open enrollment period for benefits. Dental protection also can be purchased with private Medicare Advantage coverage or through the Affordable Care Act’s public marketplaces.

There’s a big market for it. About 74 million Americans have no dental coverage, according to the National Association of Dental Plans. That’s around 23 percent of the population, or more than double the percentage that lacks health insurance.

Here are some things to consider when shopping for dental plans.

WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE LACK DENTAL COVERAGE?

The main reason is limits on government health programs.

Medicare provides health coverage for people who turn 65, but the federal program offers no dental option unless you buy it through privately-run Medicare Advantage plans. Likewise, dental coverage is spotty for adults in Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for the poor.

Shoppers also cannot use tax credits to help pay for most adult dental coverage sold on the ACA’s marketplaces or exchanges.

WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT FROM MY COVERAGE?

You won’t have to pay for preventive care like teeth cleanings. Your insurer also will grab the bill for the occasional X-ray. Coverage tends to shrink from there.

Basic work like cavity fillings might come with co-insurance, which requires you to pay a certain percentage of the bill.

That co-insurance may be as high as 50 percent for major work like crowns or dentures. Many plans also pay only $1,500 or less annually for care per person. After that, the customer has to pick up the rest of the cost.

Coverage for a kid’s braces also may be limited to a maximum lifetime payment of $1,000 per person, depending on the plan.

WHY ARE THERE LIMITS?

Dental coverage is designed to encourage people to get regular care that keeps tooth decayand other costly problems from developing.

“The idea is you pay more out of pocket if you let things go south,” said Evelyn Ireland, executive director of the National Association of Dental Plans.

If the insurer covered more, then premiums would rise, and that might dissuade people from getting regular dental checkups, Ireland said.

The dental plans association estimates that more than 90 percent of patients do not hit their plan’s annual maximum.

However, research suggests that some people start avoiding care before they reach their plan’s limits due to the costs they face even with coverage, said Marko Vujicic, chief economist for the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute.

SHOULD I BOTHER BUYING COVERAGE?

The answer can depend on whether you expect to need more than basic care and if your dentist offers a discount program. Patients can use tax-advantaged health savings or flexible spending accounts to cover dental bills.

Consider how your projected expenses compare with the monthly premium you’d pay for coverage and whether you have the resources to handle an unexpected bill of $1,000 or more. Monthly premiums can top $50 for a family plan, which is much less than a typical health premium. Your employer likely will pay some of that for any plan purchased through work.

Insurers also can help their customers by negotiating discounts with dentists that still apply even if a patient has to cover the whole bill for a procedure, Ireland said. Those discounts might reduce the cost of a crown from around $1,200 to $960, but you have to have coverage in order to get them.

Ireland said these insurer-negotiated discounts are generally bigger than what a dentist may offer a cash-paying customer.

 

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