Many women have questions and concerns about dental care and how it relates to and can affect pregnancy, and rightfully so. In fact, pregnancy triggers hormonal changes that can increase the risk of developing gum disease; this can negatively impact the health of the life growing inside of you, which is exactly why it’s important to keep your dental health top of mind throughout your journey.
Let’s take a look at before, during and after pregnancy and what this means for your dental health routine.
As you’re planning for pregnancy, try to schedule a dental visit before you conceive. Of course we understand that this is not always possible, but if it’s within your control, then we would recommend making a dental appointment for a number of reasons:
- Your teeth will be professionally cleaned
- Your gum tissue will be carefully examined
- Any oral health issues can be identified & treated before you get pregnant
Addressing Dental Care While You’re Pregnant
First and foremost, be sure to tell your dentist that you’re pregnant, as well as any other medical professional that you may see. Generally speaking, routine dental care as well as any urgent procedures can typically be performed during pregnancy; however, any elective dental procedures should be tabled until post-pregnancy. Here are some other factors to keep in mind regarding dental care during pregnancy:
- Share any medical advice from your doctor as well as the names and dosages of any medications and/or prenatal vitamins you’re taking, as this can affect your dental care treatment plan.
- Dental X-rays? We field this question a lot. Dental X-rays can be performed during pregnancy with extreme cautionary and safety measures in place, including protecting your abdomen and thyroid with a lead apron which shields from exposure to radiation. Technological advancements have made dental X-rays much safer to perform in recent decades.
- Hold onto your dental appointments for regularly scheduled cleanings! As noted above, hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to increased risk of periodontal disease and pregnancy gingivitis. If you already have gum disease, pregnancy can exacerbate the condition so it’s critical that you keep up with your oral health care routine and dental visits.
- Keep an eye on your gums as tenderness, bleeding or swelling should be addressed with your dentist.
- Follow your usual oral hygiene practices, including brushing twice per day and flossing regularly.
- You may experience morning sickness so if the taste of regular toothpaste is adding to your nausea, consider swapping it out for a more bland toothpaste. Additionally, if your morning sickness leads to vomiting, try to remember to rinse your mouth religiously to remove excess bacteria and particles.
- Cravings are common during pregnancy, but try to avoid consuming foods and beverages that can damage your teeth. This, of course, includes sugary snacks as well as soda and “sugar-free” drinks, which can lead to tooth decay.
- Indulge in healthy foods that function to protect your tooth enamel. In fact, eating a balanced diet is imperative as your unborn child continues to grow; a baby typically starts to develop teeth 3 months into pregnancy.
After You Deliver Your Child
Congratulations! You’ve welcomed a new life into this world and this part of your journey is just beginning. If you did experience trouble with your gums throughout your pregnancy, we recommend scheduling a dental visit as soon as you can after delivery so that your dentist can closely examine your oral health and address any issues as soon as possible.
We understand that this is a very sensitive and emotional journey, and we’re here to answer any of your dental care questions throughout your pregnancy, so feel free to contact us at any time!