While it’s understandable to have a lot on your plate during your pregnancy, such as doctor’s visits, planning for the baby’s arrival, and just managing your everyday life, dental health is just as important as other doctor’s visits.
Once you learn of your pregnancy or even just suspect that you are pregnant, you should alert your dentist right away. They can inform you about what dental issues pregnant women are at higher risk of developing, how to take care of your teeth, and what dental treatments you can receive.
Special precautions will be taken during dental treatments on pregnant women. Unnecessary x-rays may be put off, a special garment needs to be worn to protect your baby during necessary x-rays, and routine dental work can still be carried out.
Dental Issues To Look Out For During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, your body goes through many physical and hormonal, and behavioral changes. Some of these changes can affect your teeth and oral health in general.
Pregnant women should visit their dentist regularly during pregnancy because they have an increased risk of developing gum disease due to hormonal fluctuations, increased snacking, inflammation, and morning sickness.
The biggest oral health issues pregnant women should look out for are:
- Tooth decay/cavities
- Gum tumors
- Eroding enamel
Why It’s Important to Seek Dental Treatment During Pregnancy
The health of your teeth is greatly impacted by the foods you eat during pregnancy, which tend to be starchy and high in sugar. These foods increase the risk of developing cavities and tooth decay. Couple that with vomiting and you accelerate the risk of tooth decay due to the acidity causing enamel erosion.
A pregnant woman’s body also has an elevated response to bacteria in the body which makes them more susceptible to developing gingivitis. Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease and results in having red, swollen, puffy gums which are prone to bleeding.
This is caused by a buildup of plaque in the mouth but can have serious consequences such as preterm birth and low birth weight. Gum tumors are also a pregnancy phenomenon where little red lumps form along the gum line. They are not cancerous but can be bothersome.
Finally, you need to monitor your oral health to mitigate the risk of developing an infection. Untreated tooth decay can develop into gingivitis, then into gum disease, as well as an infection. The last thing you want during pregnancy is an infection, which can spread through your body if not treated in time and harm your baby.
What Dental Work Is Safe During Pregnancy?
Many pregnant women believe that even if they do have a dental problem that needs to be treated, it will have to wait until after they have given birth. However, this is not true. Many dental treatments, medications, and screening tools are perfectly safe during pregnancy.
The dental treatments that are safe to perform during pregnancy are:
- Teeth cleanings & checkups
- X-rays (with a protective garment)
- Local anesthesia
- Root canals
- Treating infection with certain antibiotics
If you notice signs of tooth decay, gingivitis, enamel erosion, gum tumors, or gum disease, you should see your dentist right away. It is important to have these issues treated by your second trimester.
How to Keep Your Teeth Healthy During Pregnancy
To avoid the accumulation of plaque that can lead to many of these dental issues, you should thoroughly brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes twice a day. Use a fluoridated toothpaste to protect your teeth from cavities. Floss twice a day instead of once to make sure there are no food particles left in between your teeth.
Eating a nutritious diet that is lower in sugar, carbohydrates, and acid can reduce your risk of cavities. If you experience morning sickness, refrain from brushing your teeth right away. Instead, rinse your mouth with a cup of water mixed with a tsp of baking soda instead.
Your teeth are extra sensitive to stomach acid and brushing your teeth straight away will further expose the enamel to this. Rinsing your mouth with the baking soda solution will neutralize the acid.
Schedule a Cleaning & Checkup at Miles of Little Smiles Today!
By far the best method of preventative care for your teeth during pregnancy is to regularly visit your dentist for checkups and cleanings. Dr. Mila Belgrade will remove any buildup of plaque and tartar from your teeth, apply a protective fluoride gel to shield your teeth from cavities, and monitor your teeth for decay and other issues. Contact us at Miles of Little Smiles today to schedule an appointment in White Plains.