DENTAL HEALTH DURING PREGNANCY

How Pregnancy Affects Your Oral Health

During pregnancy, your body experiences a surge in hormones, which can exaggerate your body’s normal response to plaque on your teeth.  If plaque is not removed daily by brushing and flossing, it can irritate your gums and cause a condition called pregnancy gingivitis.

 

 

Contrary to popular belief, a fetus does not absorb calcium from its mother’s teeth; and the old adage a tooth is lost for every pregnancy is not true.  While oral health can be affected during pregnancy, it’s often because of poor oral hygiene.

 

Pregnancy Gingivitis

 

Pregnancy gingivitis, in which gums become red, swollen, tender and prone to bleeding, affects most pregnant women to some degree.  Following fluctuations in hormone levels, it usually starts around the second month of pregnancy and decreasses during the ninth mont.  If you already have gingivitis, it will likely get worse during pregnancy.  Left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontal diseas. a more serious form of gum disease.

Pregnant women are also at risk for developing pregnancy tumors, which are inflammatory, benign growths that develop on the gums as part of an exaggerated response to the irritants that cause periodontal disease.  Usually, the tumors will go away on their own, but if they become uncomfortable or interfere with chewing or oral hygiene, they may need to be surgically removed.

 

Preventing Oral Health Problems

 

You can prevent gingivitis by keeping your teeth clean, especially near your gumline.  Brush your teeth at least twice a day and after meals when possible, and floss daily. Other tips include:

*If you suffer from morning sickness, repeatedly rinse your mouth with water and brush your teeth as often as possible to neutralize the acid caused by vomiting

*If brushing your teeth causes morning sickness, rinse your mouth with water, brush without toothpaste and follow with anti-plaque fluoride mouthwash

*Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of Vitamin C and B-12; both are important to oral health

*See your dentist for help in controlling plaque and preventing gingivitis

 

When to See Your Dentist

 

If your pregnant or planning to become pregnant, see your dentist right away to schedule cleanings and discuss your oral health.  Routine cleanings can generally be performed throughout your pregnancy, but the best time for any dental treatment is during the second trimester.  Follow these guidelines for other procedures:

Dental emergencies can be treated during any trimester, but your obstetrician should be consulted during emergencies that require anesthesia or when medication is prescribed.

Most health care professionals feel it is best to avoid routine x-rays during pregnancy, though x-rays needed for an emergency treatment can be done safely after shielding your abdomen with a  lead apron.

Appointments during the third trimester should be kept as brief as possible, laying back in the dental chair can be very uncomfortable.  This may lead to dizziness or a loss of consciousness and may cause unnecessary stress on the baby.

Elective procedures should be postponed until after the baby’s birth.

 

 

 

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