Pregnancy & Oral Health
On top of all the other demands and anticipation of being pregnant, keeping your mouth healthy can take more attention than before. At the same time, it is more important than ever. Below we answer many of the commonly asked questions we receive. Please feel free to ask if you have any other questions or concerns.
Diet is important
The demands on your body are much higher now and continue on through with breast-feeding. And the first place we see many deficiencies is in the tissues of the mouth. Please eat right, and make sure you are regularly taking your maternity vitamin supplements. It shouldn’t need to be said that alcohol and smoking are especially unwise at this time—please ask us if you need help quitting.
Bleeding gums are common
Just as in puberty, menopause, or when starting or stopping birth control pills, changes to the gum tissues during pregnancy mean that they react more violently to any plaque or calculus (tartar) that may be present. Therefore it is very important to keep up with careful brushing and flossing, and to maintain your schedule of routine professional dental cleaning.
Vomiting from morning sickness
Rarely is this severe enough or long-lasting enough to cause any significant damage to healthy teeth. Occasionally we will delay treatment past the first trimester in women who are having a lot of nausea, because nausea often subsides around the three-month mark. If not or if it is severe, talk to your family doctor or obstetrician. There is a very safe medication called Dicletin that they may consider for you.
Chronic dental problems may flare up
During pregnancy, the added demands on your body run can weaken your immune system. The classic example is the wisdom tooth that only came part way into the mouth, and was never removed. Often these teeth get infected during pregnancy and have to be dealt with.
Regular dental x-rays are safe and important
Modern dental radiographs ("x-rays") are extremely safe, and there is no reason to avoid them, any more than there is to avoid going out in the sun or watching television.
Routine dental care is important
There are few restrictions on getting treatment done during pregnancy. If anything, it’s easier to get things done now than after delivery, when you are likely to be busier and much more tired. There are some medications that we will not use, and towards term it can be tough to get comfortable in the dental chair, but for the most part a pregnant client is treated like any other.
Again, please take care of yourself and feel free to ask us if you have any questions. And congratulations in advance on your new family member!