Everyone knows that with pregnancy comes many huge biological and physical bodily changes. But did you know that your mouth changes, too? It’s true, and it means that your dental needs and care will change as well. Read on to find out what changes you can expect throughout pregnancy, how to deal with them, and what else you can do to optimize your oral health while expecting.
What should I watch out for during pregnancy?
Many women experience red, puffy gums to some degree during their pregnancy. This is mostly attributed to the change in hormones that women experience while they are expecting, which make gums more sensitive, irritable, and more prone to bleeding. Because of this heightened sensitivity, buildup of bacteria along the gum line can irritate gums and cause them to swell or bleed.
This is sometimes referred to as “pregnancy gingivitis” and the best way to prevent it is to make sure that you are flossing and brushing your teeth twice each day with a soft toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste, and that you are seeing your dentist regularly for dental checkups.
Another thing to be aware of during pregnancy is how morning sickness can affect your teeth. Strong stomach acids pass through our mouths when we vomit, and these acids are extremely corrosive to our teeth. If not cleaned properly, these acids can damage teeth enamel and cause noticeable decay. Make sure to thoroughly rinse out your mouth, immediately after experiencing morning sickness, and before brushing and flossing.
The last oral anomaly you may experience during pregnancy is generally known as “pregnancy tumours”. These are benign, non-cancerous growths of tissue that appear on the gums, usually around the second trimester. They are red bumps that usually disappear after the birth of the baby, but if they do not and you are concerned about them, speak to your dental professional about having them removed.
What are the risks of having bad oral health while pregnant?
Studies have shown that there is a definite connection between poor oral health in expectant mothers and possible complications with the birth. These complications can include premature contractions for the mother, a premature birth, a low birth-weight for the baby, or infection in the newborn child. Gingivitis in pregnant women that is left untreated is the main culprit for these complications, as the bacteria in the mother’s mouth is swallowed and transferred to the baby through blood and the womb’s amniotic fluid.
To prevent this, diligent brushing and flossing at least twice each day is key, as well as regular trips to your dentist. Your dental professional will be able to offer their expert counsel on how best to treat your oral health issues throughout your pregnancy.
Should I still go to the dentist while pregnant?
Absolutely! This is a critical time in your life when your mouth and overall health will be changing dramatically, so having the help and counsel of every available professional is invaluable. Be sure to schedule regular dental cleanings throughout your pregnancy for the health of your and your baby, and have your dentist keep an eye on your overall oral health. They will construct treatment for you and give advice that is tailored to your needs and experiences for the best dental care.
Is it safe for me to have dental procedures done during pregnancy?
Your dental professionals will never perform procedures that could make you uncomfortable while pregnant, or that could cause any potential harm. So, obviously, the most crucial step is to notify your dentist when you discover that you’re pregnant, and before you’re sitting in the dentist’s chair.
In general, routine and non-emergency procedures such as regular teeth cleanings can be performed and are highly recommended throughout pregnancy. Procedures that can be postponed, however, should usually be held off until after pregnancy so as to not cause unnecessary stress on the mother and baby.
Should I take the medications that my dentist prescribed during pregnancy?
As for medications that your dentist prescribes you, again be sure to tell them that you are pregnant, how far along you are in your pregnancy, and what medications you have been taking or have been recently prescribed. As long as they have this information, they will be able to make an informed decision about what is best for you and your little one. Your dentist will never prescribe something to you that will be harmful, and will be happy to discuss whatever concerns you have about your medication.
Can I still receive dental x-rays during pregnancy?
The radiation emitted by dental x-rays is not high enough to actually affect a developing baby in the mother’s womb, so there is no need to worry. However, many expectant mothers still prefer not to have routine dental x-rays done, for comfort’s sake. Your dental professionals’ primary focus, aside from fixing teeth and gums, is to make you feel at ease. So if you prefer not to have a procedure done, they will do everything they can to create a treatment plan that suits your needs as perfectly as possible.
What if I don’t have a dentist?
Having a dentist that you feel comfortable with is essential, not just during your pregnancy, but throughout your life. If you are looking for a dentist that specializes in prenatal oral care, has a knack for working with nervous patients, or can address any other concern you may have, check out 123 Dentist’s amazing member clinic service list, which can match you up with the dentist of your dreams. We want to help you stay in control of your oral health, and having a team of dental professionals that you trust by your side is a major step in achieving a happy and healthy life.