Your dental health is important for the health of your baby. Changes in your hormones during pregnancy put you at a higher risk for gum disease. Poor dental health has been associated with early delivery, gestational diabetes, intrauterine growth restriction, and preeclampsia.
If you’re expecting, you might be concerned about several dental issues: which dental procedures are safe for your baby, when and how often you should see the dentist, and what you can do to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Is Dental Care Safe during Pregnancy?
Yes, it’s not only safe to visit your dentist during pregnancy, it’s also recommended. Tooth decay can negatively impact both you and your baby. Changes in your hormones can put you at a higher risk for gingivitis. You might even consider extra cleanings during your pregnancy to protect your gums against gum disease.
When you visit your dentist, let him or her know what stage you are at in the pregnancy, as well as any medications you may be taking. Some prefer not to visit the dentist during the first trimester because this is the most vulnerable state of the pregnancy. It’s typically best to schedule dental procedures during your second trimester because it will be too uncomfortable to sit in the chair during the last months of the pregnancy.
Dentists try to avoid treatments too late in the third trimester, out of fear that having you lie on your back for too long could induce labour. If you need any dental procedures during your third trimester, they are typically delayed until after the delivery.
Fillings and x-rays are safe during pregnancy. Your dentist will make sure you are adequately covered during the x-ray to prevent any risk to the child. X-rays are often necessary to plan accurately dental procedures.
Pregnancy and Your Dental Health
The primary reasons for dental problems during pregnancy are the result of hormone changes and morning sickness.
Hormone changes make your gums more prone to gingivitis because they cause more bacteria to form in your mouth. Estrogen and progesterone loosen bones and ligaments, and this may make your teeth feel looser. That being said, it is definitely not normal to have teeth move or fall out. Those issues are usually a sign of a previous dental condition.
One in two women develops gingivitis during pregnancy. This condition should go away after childbirth. You might notice that your gums are red, swollen, sore or prone to bleeding. Keep up with your regular brushing and flossing routines and talk to your dentist for more specific advice.
Frequently vomiting from morning sickness wears out the enamel of your teeth. If you’re having problems with morning sickness, there are measures you can take to protect your teeth against acid.
Mix a teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of water to make a rinse solution. Rinse and spit after vomiting, then wait thirty minutes before brushing. Brushing your teeth immediately after vomiting can worsen the wear on the enamel of your teeth.
Things You Can Do to Keep a Healthy Mouth
There are a few things you can do to protect your mouth during pregnancy. We’ve gathered the following list to help you fight decay and gum disease while encouraging your child’s development.
- Keep up your regular routines of brushing and flossing. If you haven’t been brushing twice a day and flossing once, now is the time to start. Flossing is perhaps the most important measure in fighting against gum disease.
Continue visiting your dentist for regular cleanings and check-ups.
- If you’re having trouble brushing because of morning sickness, try changing your routine. Consider buying a smaller toothbrush or using different toothpaste. Brush slowly if it is causing you to gag.
- Limit sugar. Sugar is hard on your teeth because it turns to acid and then plaque. This puts you at a higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Choose healthy snacks that are low in sugar. Yogurt, cheese, raw fruits and vegetables are all great choices.
- Drink water and low-fat milk instead of soda or sugary beverages. This will keep you hydrated without the negative effects of sugar.
- Keep a healthy, nutrient-rich diet to help your child’s development. Your baby’s teeth develop during the third and sixth months of pregnancy. Make sure you’re getting enough vitamins A, C and D, calcium, protein, phosphorus, and folic acid.