While good dental health is important at any stage in life, it’s especially critical when you’re pregnant. Even when you’re busy preparing your body, home and life for the new arrival, you can’t afford to let your oral health slide!
Let’s look at some of the dilemmas that expecting mothers face about pregnancy and teeth, and understand the link between them.
The Importance of Good Dental Health during Pregnancy
Your body goes through major changes when you’re carrying a child, and hormonal surges in particular can affect your dental health, leading to tooth decay, gum disease and more. In expecting mothers, gum disease is believed to increase the risk of babies being born pre-term or with low birth weight, so why take a chance?
Oral examinations and dental cleanings are especially helpful during your first trimester, allowing the dentist to pinpoint issues that could affect you or your child, and treat them early.
Pregnancy and Oral Health: Common Issues You May Face
You might have sensitive teeth during pregnancy, or face other issues like:
- Dental Caries – Also known as tooth decay or cavities, this can occur due to pregnancy cravings (high intake of sugary or acidic snacks), morning sickness (exposure to gastric acids), or neglecting oral hygiene and care.
- Pregnancy Gingivitis – Bad breath, loose teeth or bleeding gums could signal the onset of “pregnancy gingivitis” or gum disease. Gums may be more likely to bleed or swell in response to plaque, especially during your third trimester.
- Periodontitis – If gingivitis isn’t treated in time, it can lead to a more serious bacterial infection caused by the accumulation of plaque in your gum tissue. It can lead to loose teeth, bone loss and even affect your baby’s health!
- Tooth Mobility – The supporting structure of your teeth may become loose when you’re pregnant, causing your teeth to shift a little. In most cases, this is only temporary and doesn’t cause tooth loss, but get it checked.
- Enamel Erosion – Along with morning sickness, other gastric conditions like hyperemesis gravidarum or gastric reflux can also expose teeth to stomach acids. Avoid brushing right after you vomit, since this can increase erosion.
- Dry Mouth – Saliva secretion might decrease due to hormonal changes when you’re pregnant, so remain well-hydrated throughout the day. Sugarless gum or hard candies can also help promote saliva production.
Is Dental Work Safe during Pregnancy?
Pre-natal dental exams and cleanings are completely safe, and can prevent a wide range of problems for you and your child. If a dental procedure is required, inform the dentist that you’re pregnant, and try to schedule it during your second trimester (especially if you need local or topical anesthesia).
Don’t ignore oral health problems (especially symptoms of gum disease) because you fear dental work during pregnancy. If you have any questions or concerns, raise them. Modern procedures (even X-rays) are very safe, and the dentist can explain how they work, precautions you need to take, etc.
Dental Health Tips to Follow during Your Pregnancy
Brush and floss regularly, use an antibacterial mouthwash, eat healthy food (rich in vitamins and protein), and get enough calcium to keep your bones strong too.
To protect your teeth from stomach acids, rinse with warm saltwater or baking soda and water a little while after vomiting. If morning sickness is severe or persistent, ask your dentist for other tips on preventing tooth damage.
Even with perfect teeth and gums, it’s a good idea to get professional advice on pre-natal oral care. Don’t waste any time – schedule an appointment with us today!