Pregnant? 9 Questions You May Have About Your Dental Health

Pregnant 9 Questions You May Have About Your Dental Health

Is it safe to see the dentist during pregnancy? Yes! In fact, your dentist may recommend additional cleanings during your second trimester and early third trimester to help control the gum disease exacerbated by pregnancy hormones.

Is It Safe to Have a Dental Procedure?

Some dental treatments sensitive to the passage of time. If not treated, painful infections and tooth loss may become inevitable. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists agrees that procedures like cleanings, dental fillings and crowns are safe and important to have during pregnancy to prevent potential infection. It may be more uncomfortable to sit in a dental chair the later you are in pregnancy, so if possible, schedule dental appointments in your second trimester. Elective cosmetic procedures, like whitening, should wait until after baby arrives. If you need an emergency procedure because of pain or swelling, then by all means work with your dentist on the best plan for the health of you and your developing baby.

Do I Need to Change My Daily Habits?

More dental self-care is better during pregnancy than less. If you’re already brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and cleaning between your teeth once a day, keep up the good work! If not, there’s no better time to start, as poor dental habits during pregnancy have been associated with premature delivery, intrauterine growth restriction, gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. Talk to your dentist about your routine and if you should make any changes. Shopping for you and your growing family? Look for dental care products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Why Are My Gums Bleeding?

With pregnancy comes temporary changes in your body, including in your mouth. As many as half of all women develop pregnancy gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease that is most common between the second and eighth months of pregnancy. It can go away after childbirth, however there can be some persistent effects. Hormones make your gums more easily irritated by plaque and can cause gums to be red, tender, sore and bleed. Brush after meals for at least two minutes, clean between your teeth at least once a day, schedule a dental cleaning and talk to your dentist about other steps you can take to keep your gums healthy.

Do You Lose a Tooth with Each Baby?

Losing a tooth is not a normal part of pregnancy, and if you do, you most likely already had an existing dental problem. You may, however, feel like your teeth are a bit loose. According to the Mayo Clinic, progesterone and estrogen loosens the ligaments and bones to assist the delivery of your baby and also that keep your teeth in place, even if you don’t have gum disease. Many times, this goes away after pregnancy. The stress of pregnancy will also contribute to clenching your teeth, which can cause looseness. Talk to your dentist for some alternatives if you feel like your teeth are moving when they shouldn’t be.

I'm Struggling with Morning Sickness. What Should I Do?

Unfortunately, morning sickness can hit any time of the day. Stomach acids are released into the mouth that can eat away at your teeth, so waiting to brush after you’ve rinsed your mouth can help prevent those acids from doing damage. Instead of brushing, first swish and spit. You can use water, a diluted mouth rinse or a mixture of 1 cup of water and 1 tsp. of baking soda. Spit it out, to let the acid levels diminish and then brush your teeth about 30 minutes later.

Is It Safe to See the Dentist During Pregnancy?

Yes! In fact, your dentist may recommend additional cleanings during your second trimester and early third trimester to help control the gum disease exacerbated by pregnancy hormones. If your last visit to the dentist was more than 6 months ago or if you notice any changes in your mouth, schedule an appointment. Always let your dental office know how far along you are when you call, and tell your dentist of any change in the medications you take or if you have received any special advice from your physician.

Help! Brushing Makes Me Gag.

During a time when anything (and possibly everything) may make you gag, take it slow and figure out what works for you. Changing your flavor of toothpaste, using a brush with a smaller head, or brushing at different times of the day may help. Temporarily, try using a gauze pad or washcloth to wipe your teeth. If you need to swish and spit before coming back to brush your teeth, try that as well. The important thing is to keep up your routine because you’re slightly more at risk for cavities, thanks to acid on your teeth from morning sickness, possible diet changes and feeling too tired to brush.

Does What I Eat Affect My Baby’s Teeth?

Your baby’s teeth begin to develop between the third and sixth months of pregnancy, and eating well can help them form correctly. Ask your OB/GYN for supplement recommendations and get plenty of nutrients – including vitamins A, C, and D, protein, calcium and phosphorus. To reduce the risk of neural tube defects, you need 600 mcg of folic acid each day while pregnant. Take folic acid supplements, and eat broccoli, brussels sprouts and leafy green foods high in folate.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe During Pregnancy?

Yes, dental X-rays are safe during pregnancy. Dental x rays, unlike medical x rays do not cover most of the body. There are filters and x ray beam field reductions built into the x ray machine to eliminate whole body exposure. Measurements taken outside the x ray beam show minimal or no levels of radiation to the body. Your dentist or hygienist will cover you with a protective lead apron that also minimizes exposure to the abdomen.