Pregnancy and Dentistry

Expecting a baby is  an exciting time and while you have so much to plan for, your oral health may be one of the last things you’re thinking about however it is more important than ever to pay close attention to your dental health in this time.

Many pregnant women are afraid to or they think they are not supposed to get any kind of dental work while they during their pregnancy.

Not only is that not true, but it is even more important than ever to see a dentist because pregnancy affects your teeth. Without regular visits to your dentist you could get an infection which the dentist can prevent with good preventive dental care.

Getting a checkup during pregnancy is safe and important for your dental health. Not only can you take care of cleanings and procedures like tooth fillings before your baby is born, but your dentist can help you with any pregnancy-related dental symptoms you might be experiencing.

Hormone changes during pregnancy can affect your oral health and many pregnant women notice:

  • Swollen , bleeding and inflamed gums
    It is called ‘pregnancy gingivitis’ and can start as soon as the second month of pregnancy. The high level of the hormone progesterone is affecting the body’s response to toxins as a result of plaque build-up. Women are therefore more susceptible to developing periodontal disease when these hormonal fluctuations occur.
  • Tooth Decay and Erosion
    it is a  result of constant exposure to acid from severe morning sickness. Also, if you are eating more carbohydrates than usual, this can cause decay.
  • Pregnancy granuloma
    Some women also experience a growth on their gums known as a pregnancy granuloma which are red nodules, usually found on the upper gums. While they are not dangerous, they can cause discomfort but usually they disappear after your baby is born.
  • Dry mouth
    It is another major complaint, but can be easily remedied by drinking plenty of water and using sugarless candies to stimulate saliva flow.

Pregnancy gingivitis is something you’ll want to try to prevent, if possible.If you are pregnant we recommend that you :

  • Attend regular dental check-ups
    Come to the practice for a thorough check up so we can help you to have a healthy and happy pregnancy.
  • Practice proper hygiene at home
    Brush your teeth with a soft tootbrush at least twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste and floss between your teeth.Try to avoid sugary foods as these will only contribute to gingivitis and decay.
  • Increase your calcium and vitamin D intake
    Sufficient calcium will protect your bone mass and meet the nutritional needs of your developing baby. Good sources of dietary calcium include products such as: milk, cheese, and yoghurt and non-dairy calcium sources, including greens, broccoli, sardine. You may take some calcium and vitamin supplement  as well if your GP recommends.

Yes. Preventive dental cleanings and annual exams during pregnancy are not only safe, but are recommended.

Other Dental work while pregnant, such as fillings and root canal treatments  could be essential to  reduce the chance of infection. Generally the second trimester is ideal. Once you reach the third trimester, it may be uncomfortable to lie on your back for an extended period of time.

Cosmetic dental work , such as teeth whitening and veneers  should be postponed until after the birth.

If you’re pregnant and need a filling, root canal or tooth extracted, one thing you don’t have to worry about is the safety of the numbing medications as they are safe for both you and your baby.

In case of dental infections , your dentist may prescribe a carefully choosen antibiotics to prevent or treat the problem. Common antibiotics that are generally considered safe during pregnancy include penicillins (such as amoxicillin )..

Although, radiation from dental X-rays is extremely low, if possible, you should avoid having an X-ray while you’re pregnant.

The best thing to do during your pregnancy is to take good care of your body and your teeth. Eat healthy, brush and floss your teeth at least two times a day, and see your dentist regularly. Your teeth are part of your body and can affect you as well as your baby so take care of them. If you would like more information on dental health and care during pregnancy, please contact us or schedule an appointment.