Oral Health & Pregnancy: What You Need To Know

Dental Health & Pregnancy

Pregnancy and oral health questions are very common for new and expecting moms.

The stick reads: you’re pregnant. You’re expecting a baby, but you’re also expecting lots of physical changes over the next nine months, to say the last. While you might have some idea of what to expect while you’re expecting, you might not be aware how pregnancy affects your teeth and oral health. In between the trips to your doctor, setting up your home for your new baby, and all of the other body changes you experience, it’s important to keep your visits with your dentist on your to-do list.

Going to the dentist while you’re pregnant is safe. Not only is it safe, but keeping up with your oral health will promote better overall health for you and your baby! You can take care of any issues your teeth and mouth may have like cavities prior to your baby being born. To top it off, your dentist will be able to help you navigate any pregnancy-related dental issues you might experience.

Here are some things you need to know about your oral health while you’re pregnant.

You should absolutely tell your Dentist

If you’re pregnant, or you think you could be pregnant, let your dentist and office staff know. You can and should include details like how far along you are while you’re making your appointments. If you have any special advice from your doctor, now is the time to let your dentist know. This way, your dentist and the staff can help you make informed decisions, like whether or not to wait and postpone a treatment until you’ve had your baby.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, the second trimester is likely the best time to have dental procedures done.

There is an increased risk of tooth decay

Thanks to your hormone level changes, the risk of oral issues also increases. You can also blame your cravings. If you’re eating more junk food than usual, this can cause tooth decay. Another reason some pregnant women experience tooth decay is because of morning sickness, which introduces a lot of acid to your mouth. This can be a factor in the decay of your tooth enamel while you’re pregnant.

If you do end up with a cavity, getting it filled is OK

Although you should discuss your personal situation with your dentist, you can, in fact, get a tooth filling or root canal while you’re pregnant. Local numbing medications like lidocaine shots have been proven safe for pregnant women. The American Dental Association published a study that showed these treatments were safe to use during pregnancy.

Even dental x-rays are safe for you and your baby

That’s right. Dental x-rays are safe for you and your baby with, of course, the right shielding.

There are two types of x-rays we’re talking about: x-rays taken at your usual annual exam, and x-rays taken in order to perform a necessary procedure. The first type can (usually) be postponed until after birth, especially if you’ve recently had x-rays taken. Many women would prefer to postpone during the first trimester as this is typically considered a period to be very careful in.

You can experience gingivitis … and tumors

Among some of the other things you experience during pregnancy, you could have to fight gingivitis. Pregnancy gingivitis is an inflammation of your gums that causes them to be sore, tender, and swell. They might even bleed a little as you’re brushing or flossing. However, it’s important to keep up brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily to prevent more serious issues such as infection or more serious gum disease. For that reason, your dentist may suggest more frequent cleanings.

Pregnancy tumors sound terrifying, right? While they may sound alarming, they’re not dangerous and they’re very normal. They often occur during the second trimester, and while the dentist can remove them if they’re uncomfortable, the pregnancy tumors will often go away on their own or after your baby is born.

If you experience any sort of issues with your oral health while you’re pregnant, talk with your dentist. While there are lots of changes during your pregnancy, your teeth still need daily care!

About the author

A practicing dentist since 1982, Dr. Gary Imm, provides advanced cosmetic dentistry, including smile makeovers, sedation, implant and TMJ services. He is committed to progressive, extraordinary care for his guests. All Smiles Dental Care trains at least 300 hours each year at such prestigious centers as the Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dentistry. (LVI)

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