If you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, you are extra-keen to ensure your health and the health of your developing baby. You also have a ton of questions about what is safe and what you should avoid – foods, medications, and procedures. It’s important that you don’t let your dental health fall to the wayside while you’re pregnant. So, let’s talk about what you need to know about your dental health and pregnancy.
Is It Safe to Go to the Dentist While Pregnant?
Yes! Keeping up with dental appointments while pregnant is not just safe, it is also important to your health and your child’s development. We have a few simple best practices when it comes to pregnancy and dental appointments:
- Let your dentist know if you’re trying to get pregnant and once you become pregnant
- Discuss with your OBGYN if you have any special concerns your dentist (and any other doctor) needs to know about
- Tell your dentist about any prescriptions, vitamins, or treatments that relate to your pregnancy (or leading up to pregnancy if you’re trying to get pregnant)
- If you’re planning to get pregnant, schedule an appointment with your dentist before you conceive for a thorough check-up and cleaning and to address any potential dental health concerns
Your dentist will take any additional precautions necessary for your pregnancy, such as additional safety measures if you need dental x-rays (yes, if needed, you can get dental x-rays, we just take additional steps to ensure your and your developing baby’s safety).
How Does Pregnancy Affect Dental Health?
Pregnancy is a major time in your life, where your body is working not only to keep you going but to promote the development of your baby. Because of this, your body can undergo changes and even deficiencies – which is why prenatal vitamins are often so important. You also experience morning sickness, food aversions, and cravings, all of which can impact your dental health. Some things to watch out for when you’re pregnant include,
Pregnancy Gingivitis – Hormone changes can cause inflammation and swelling of your gums that can lead to gingivitis. If you notice changes in your gums, talk to your dentist about scheduling additional cleanings or ways to help prevent gingivitis.
Tooth Decay – A number of factors in pregnancy can lead to increased chances for tooth decay. Some of these include
- Severe morning sickness that causes a buildup of acid in the mouth and/or makes it difficult to brush your teeth
- Increased consumption of carbohydrates and sugars
- Calcium deficiency
Pregnancy “Tumors” – An overgrowth of tissue sometimes forms on the gums, often between the teeth. They’re called “tumors” but they’re not cancer. They have a red appearance and often bleed easily. Fortunately, the condition usually goes away after the baby is born, however, if you’re concerned about them, talk to your dentist.
How Does Dental Health Affect My Pregnancy?
Just like your pregnancy can affect your mouth, your dental health can affect your pregnancy. Chronic gum disease has been linked to premature birth so it’s especially important to the development of your baby to ensure you have a healthy mouth. In addition to keeping up with your dental appointments, there are other things you can do to help keep your mouth healthy.
Limit sugary snacks. This can be hard because food aversions and cravings often dictate what we can eat while pregnant. Some ideas of alternatives to your cravings, however, include,
- Eat yogurt when you crave ice cream
- Eat fresh apple slices when you crave candy or other sweet snacks
- Eat carrots or celery when you crave a crunchy snack
Make sure to brush twice a day and floss at least once daily. If you have trouble brushing your teeth, take your time and try using bland toothpaste if your normal toothpaste makes you feel nauseous.
Gently rinse your mouth with water after bouts of morning sickness to help keep acid from building up in your mouth.
Are You Looking for a Dentist in Bucks County?
Your and your family’s dental health is important to you and to us. Contact us today to make an appointment.