Understanding the importance of dental care during pregnancy is one of the best strategies to avoid cavities and periodontal diseases in early childhood. It’s crucial to keep visiting your dentist during pregnancy since hormones associated with pregnancy and morning sickness might affect your oral health. While it’s understandable to be concerned about the well-being of your unborn child, skipping your appointment or disregarding tooth pain can do more harm than good.
Why is dental care crucial during pregnancy?
Due to the varying hormone levels, you are more likely to develop several oral issues during pregnancy, such as tooth decay and gum disease. So, preparing for a baby entails numerous preparations, including appointments with a doctor and even your dentist.
Your dental health is vital not just for your overall health but also for your baby’s well-being. It’s crucial to let your dentist know if you’re expecting or think you could be pregnant. Make careful to mention any medications you are taking and any medical issues you may have.
What impact does pregnancy have on oral health?
The effects of pregnancy on your dental health can worsen existing dental issues or create new ones.
There is an increased chance of acquiring the following oral problems during pregnancy:
- Gingivitis: Gingivitis affects 60 to 75% of women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Pregnancy gingivitis is a condition caused by hormonal changes that might occur during pregnancy. Your body’s ability to combat oral microorganisms may be compromised, resulting in swollen and bleeding gums. If left untreated, this condition can lead to a more severe form of gum disease called periodontal disease. During your pregnancy, your dentist may recommend more frequent dental cleanings.
- Tooth Decay: There is a higher risk of developing tooth decay during pregnancy due to dietary changes such as frequent snacking and an increase in carbohydrates, exposure to stomach acids after nausea and vomiting, and poor dental hygiene. According to the CDC, if you don’t take precautions to prevent cavity-causing oral bacteria, these hazardous germs can be passed to your baby through mouth-to-mouth contact after pregnancy.
- Dental Erosion: It is common for pregnant women to suffer from morning sickness, which may result in vomiting. Not only is this painful, but it also exposes your teeth to damaging acids that erode your tooth enamel.
- Pregnancy Tumor (Pyogenic Granuloma): Some women may develop temporary extra-oral tissue growth, most typically on the gums, known as a pyogenic granuloma or pregnancy tumor. It could be due to hormonal fluctuations or an accumulation of tooth plaque. They have the propensity to bleed readily and have a raspberry-like appearance.
- Periodontal Disease: According to the CDC, some study has revealed a possible link between periodontal disease, a more advanced and severe form of gum disease, and preterm birth, low birthweight kids, and the development of pre-eclampsia. Inflammation of the gums, bone deterioration, and even tooth loss are signs of periodontal disease. To prevent gum disease from progressing and causing injury to you and your baby, your dentist may recommend a deep cleaning (scaling and root planing).
How to avoid dental problems during pregnancy?
One of the most effective strategies to avoid dental problems during pregnancy is to practice good oral hygiene. Maintaining a healthy mouth requires regular flossing and twice-day brushing with a soft-bristled brush for two minutes each.
Use toothpaste with fluoride and inquire about professional fluoride treatments from your dentist to reduce the risk of tooth decay and the symptoms of dental erosion caused by nausea. If you are experiencing difficulties cleaning your teeth due to gag reflex, consider brushing your teeth more gently, using a toothbrush with a smaller head, or brushing at different times of the day. Changing the flavor of your toothpaste also might help.
Eating well-balanced and healthy meals is especially vital during pregnancy, as it can affect your baby’s tooth growth while in utero. Make sure to incorporate tooth-friendly foods like calcium, phosphorus, protein, folic acid, and vitamins A, C, and D in your diet. Additionally, drink fluoridated water to stay hydrated and support the health of your dental enamel.
It’s not just you if you’re feeling nauseous in the morning. After vomiting, you should avoid brushing your teeth for at least 30 minutes to prevent spreading damaging acids throughout your mouth. If you wish to neutralize the acids immediately, you can rinse with a solution of water and baking soda.
How to address dental problems during pregnancy?
Our Oakville family dentist can address dental issues during pregnancy safely and effectively. Unless your dentist recommends it, you should not postpone getting fillings, root canals, or tooth extractions during pregnancy. A dental anesthetic can also be used safely during pregnancy.
Is getting an X-ray safe during pregnancy?
The American Dental Association (ADA) states that X-rays are safe to use at any point during pregnancy—usage of thyroid collars and abdomen aprons for protection while taking X-rays.
When should a pregnant woman go to the dentist?
The importance of dental care during pregnancy should be your top priority. It is vital not to ignore receiving treatment because this can lead to several issues. Make sure your regular check-up and cleaning appointments with your dentist are made and let them know of your pregnancy.
Our Oakville Family Dentist, Dentistry on Dunn will advise you on the importance of dental care during pregnancy.