Whether you’re still trying to get pregnant or already in your second trimester, it’s time to consider your dental health. Because pregnancy hormones cause changes to your teeth and gums, dental hygiene should be a part of your prenatal plan. In this post, we list down common pregnancy-related dental issues, treatments, and tips on how to stay on top of your oral health while pregnant.
How will pregnancy affect your teeth and gums?
You may thank those pregnancy hormones for your glowing skin and lusher hair, but those same hormones can create problems in the oral department. A common concern among expecting women is pregnancy gingivitis. Due to a spike in your progesterone and estrogen levels, you may notice your gums becoming swollen or tender. They may even bleed when you brush or floss. Your teeth may be getting looser as well. When ignored, pregnancy gingivitis may lead to other severe gum diseases.
Some women may also develop overgrowths of tissue on the gums. These are called pregnancy tumors. While these tumors are not malignant and usually go away after giving birth, they could be uncomfortable and painful.
Pregnant women are also more prone to having cavities. Those suffering from severe morning sickness often experience bouts of vomiting or gastric reflux, which could damage teeth and increase the risk of tooth decay.
Will dental diseases affect a developing baby?
Studies reveal that 18 out of every 100 premature births are triggered by gum diseases while the mother is pregnant. Babies who are born before 37 weeks of pregnancy may be at risk of several health conditions, including cerebral palsy and other physical defects.
Are dental treatments safe during pregnancy?
Once you see those two pink lines on your pregnancy test, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your dentist. To be safe, inform your OB-GYN that you’re planning to have a dental check-up so he or she can list down special instructions if needed.
If you need a more intensive procedure than a regular cleaning, you may be worried about antibiotics and local anesthesia. Most of these drugs have counterparts that are perfectly safe for pregnant women, so be sure to tell your dental practitioner all details about your pregnancy.
Dental X-rays are also safe because they emit extremely low radiation. However, it is always best to practice extra caution. Most clinics will provide you a leaded apron to cover your abdomen.
Tips to prevent dental problems while pregnant:
Pregnant women should practice proper dental hygiene more vigorously than before. Make sure to give your teeth a thorough brushing at least twice a day and floss once a day. If brushing makes you feel like gagging, try using brushes with soft bristles.
Eating healthy is also crucial for your oral health. Minimize your intake of sugary drinks and other sweet treats. Instead, choose snacks that are high in calcium, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt. Vitamin D helps your body utilize calcium, so make sure to get enough sunshine and include Vitamin D-rich foods in your diet.
Pregnancy is an exciting period in a woman’s life. Staying in your best health in all aspects is beneficial not just for your overall condition, but also for your baby’s development. If you’re expecting your little bundle of joy soon, a trip to the dentist should definitely be a part of your things-to-do list before the baby arrives!
If you’re looking for a local dentist to help you with your dental hygiene, get in touch with us today for a free consultation!