Women preparing to have a child may not realize how pregnancy and dental health are connected. Pregnancy can cause women to be more prone to oral health problems, such as periodontal disease and cavities. Some issues that you might experience are:
- Loose Teeth
- Teeth Breaking
- Pain or Sensitivity
Following dental guidelines before, during, and after pregnancy will help prevent related oral health problems and help ensure the child avoid complications as well. Knowledge of the potential problems that can arise with pregnancy in addition to good oral hygiene at home and regular dental visits will put women on a path toward optimal health while they are expecting.
Pregnancy And Dental Health Can Affect the Baby
Your own dental care may not seem like something that affects a baby, however poor oral health during pregnancy can lead to concerning pregnancy outcomes, including premature birth and low birth weight.
Schedule Dental Procedures Before You Conceive
If you are planning to have a child, try to schedule any dental procedures prior to conception, if possible. This way, your dentist can ensure you receive a thorough cleaning, take dental x-rays, and treat any other oral health issues in advance of the pregnancy.
That said, it’s perfectly safe (and encouraged!) to continue with regular dental check ups during pregnancy. Seeing your dentist beforehand can treat any problems that may require anesthesia or other drugs that are better to treat before becoming pregnant.
Tell Your Dentist You’re Pregnant
Communicate clearly with your dentist when you do become pregnant. This includes informing them of any vitamins or medications you may be taking.
Pregnancy doesn’t mean foregoing dental treatments. Urgent procedures and x-rays can be done safely during pregnancy, however depending on the situation, a woman may be advised to wait for certain elective procedures until after the birth of the child.
Coping with Morning Sickness
Aside from the discomfort of experiencing morning sickness, it can also cause oral health concerns. The acid from the vomit can damage tooth enamel and increase the risk of tooth decay.
Although brushing your teeth immediately after throwing up might seem like the ideal way to avoid the risk of tooth decay, it’s best to wait at least an hour before doing so. Brushing the teeth right afterward can scratch the enamel.
Instead, rinse the mouth out with water followed by a fluoridated mouthwash.
Pregnant Women are More Prone to Gum Disease
Thanks to increased hormone levels, it is not all that uncommon for expectant mothers to experience what is known as pregnancy gingivitis. Women may notice swollen and/or bleeding gums during pregnancy, particularly during the second trimester.
Left untreated, the gums can become infected as a result of the bone loss from gum disease.
The best way to prevent pregnancy gingivitis is to continue taking care of the teeth at home. This means brushing and flossing regularly to keep the teeth and gums healthy.
Control Those Food Cravings
Women famously crave odd food combinations when pregnant. The problem for oral health care comes when those cravings lean toward sweet foods.
Increased consumption of sugary foods can contribute to tooth decay. When the sweet tooth strikes, try to tame it by reaching for fruits instead.
Increasing calcium and Vitamin D intake while pregnant will keep the bones strong. Look for foods like yogurt, seeds, organic soy products, and milk for a calcium boost.
Pregnancy Tumors are Nothing to Worry about
Despite the alarming name, pregnancy tumors are common for expectant mothers. They are nothing more than lumps that form on swollen gums, usually between the teeth. The likely cause is from plaque build up and most go away on their own. If they still remain after you have given birth, they can be easily removed surgically.
If you are planning to have a baby soon or are already pregnant, let us know so we can plan your dental care accordingly. Call the friendly staff at Icard & Strein Family Dentistry at 704.659.5036 to schedule an appointment today.