If you’re expecting a baby, then you’re probably concerned about various aspects of your health. One area that’s often concerning is oral health while pregnant. In fact, many women notice more oral problems during pregnancy than before. While special attention should be paid to your oral routine, you can maintain a healthy smile throughout your pregnancy.
Maintain Good Oral Health
In general, you should follow the same basic oral health practices that you did before you were expecting. The basics of good oral hygiene include brushing and flossing twice a day. You may find that your mouth is a little more sensitive than before so consider using a sensitive toothpaste if needed. Flossing regularly will help to remove any food particles and keep your smile bright and healthy.
Seeing Your Dentist During Pregnancy
When you’re expecting, you typically have more medical appointments so it’s easy to forget about the dentist. While you don’t need to take any additional dentist trips if not indicated, you should follow up with your dentist twice a year for routine cleanings and monitoring. If you start to notice any problems, then you may want to schedule additional appointments.
Make sure that your dentist knows that you are expecting. Tell them how far along you are and also inform them about any medications you’re taking or if you have any additional concerns. Your dentist may recommend certain modifications to your oral health or treatments based on your pregnancy.
Concerns with Oral Health During Pregnancy
Although ideally, you would make it through your entire pregnancy without any discomfort, pregnancy can make you more prone to issues with your teeth. These are just a few ways that pregnancy can affect oral health.
More Susceptible to Tooth Problems with Morning Sickness
Morning sickness is fairly common in the early and later stages of pregnancy. If you find yourself with nausea, then you should be aware that vomit is highly acidic as it contains gastric acid. It can cause damage to your teeth if you don’t approach it properly. Most women are tempted to brush their teeth immediately after getting sick. However, your teeth are going to be more sensitive during this time. Wait an hour and instead rinse your mouth out with water or try sugar-free gum to feel better. Brushing too soon can strip away the protective enamel on your teeth.
Your teeth are probably going to be having higher levels of acid from being sick or any dietary changes. Make sure that you try to follow a healthy diet and limit excess sugar for the best results.
Damage Enamel on the Teeth
Like mentioned above, your teeth may be more sensitive to brushing. Make sure that you avoid over-brushing, especially right after getting sick. Use a soft toothbrush that won’t strip enamel away.
Higher Risk of Gum Disease
During pregnancy, varying hormone levels can affect your mouth. Some women may develop a condition known as pregnancy gingivitis. This is an inflammation of the gums that can lead to swelling and tenderness. Your gums may also have more bleeding during routine brushing and flossing. Since this untreated condition can lead to more serious concerns, your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings to avoid problems.
Discussing Your Pregnancy
When you are pregnant or may plan to become pregnant, discussing your dental health with your dentist is best. Your dentist will need to know how far along you are in your pregnancy as well as any medical conditions or medications you’re receiving during your pregnancy. This will allow them to provide the best dental care for your health.
If you tell your dentist before you get pregnant with your plans to have a baby, he or she may want to treat any outstanding dental issues taken first. Problems such as impacted wisdom teeth are going to be a higher risk to treat during your pregnancy so it may be best to have these procedures done before you become pregnant.
Dental Treatments During Pregnancy
When you are already pregnant, most women have concerns about having certain procedures performed. You can have some dental treatments during your pregnancy although some are best left before or after having a baby. These are a few of the more common concerns.
X-rays are usually performed about once a year. A single dose of modern dental x-rays is very low in radiation and usually not high enough to have any adverse effects. You’ll also use a lead apron and thyroid guard for safety. Your dentist may recommend avoiding them in the first trimester though.
You can have anaesthesia during pregnancy for a procedure but your dentist will need to set the appropriate level for safety. Anaesthetics that contain felypressin should be avoided since this chemical constricts blood vessels. Talk to your doctor if needing any procedures that require this.
3. Tooth Extraction
Tooth extractions are typically a last resort but may be needed if the tooth is damaged or decayed beyond repair. Your dentist will typically recommend having this done in your second trimester as the ideal time.
4. Root Canal
Once again, the second trimester is the best time to have a root canal as x-rays will be needed. However, if in an emergency, a root canal can be performed at any stage in the pregnancy.
5. Tooth Whitening
This procedure can be done while you are pregnant, but your dentist may recommend waiting until after you have the baby for this procedure as it is not an emergency. Additionally, laying still while treatment is performed may not be comfortable in the third trimester.
6. Orthodontic Treatment
If you already have started orthodontic treatment when you become pregnant, you should continue it. However, if not yet started, your dentist may recommend waiting until after the birth as there may be some complications.
Discuss With a Dentist
In general, emergency dental procedures can be performed but if the procedure can wait, you may want to have it during the second trimester or after having the baby. Your dentist can review what treatments to have or postpone.