It’s always important to pay attention to good oral hygiene, and that’s especially the case when you’re pregnant. The hormonal changes your body undergoes during pregnancy raise your chances of developing oral health issues, some of which can affect your developing baby. Pregnancy dental care is vital before, during and after your pregnancy. Below are some of the things to look out for when you’re expecting.
At least 30 percent of pregnant women will experience the swollen, bleeding and tender gums that are signs of pregnancy gingivitis. This condition is caused by the rising levels of estrogen and progesterone in your body. Keeping gingivitis under control is one of the main reasons to stay on top of your pregnancy dental care with twice-a-day brushing and once-daily flossing.
If you notice that your gums are bleeding a lot, you may need to schedule more frequent professional cleanings. Pregnancy gingivitis should resolve once you have your baby if your gums were healthy before you become pregnant.
Pregnant women can develop bumps on the gum line called pyogenic granulomas, also known as pregnancy tumors. These growths are another result of gum inflammation due to increasing hormone levels.
These shiny, red lesions look like lumps or balls, and they can be sensitive and prone to bleeding. Once you give birth, the growths may shrink in size, but the possibility remains that they’ll have to be removed with a minor surgical procedure. If you notice any unusual lumps or bleeding in your mouth, make sure to see a dentist for a checkup right away.
This pregnancy side effect can pose problems for your dental health because the acid reflux from vomiting can erode your teeth’s enamel. Make sure to rinse your mouth and teeth thoroughly after experiencing morning sickness. Fluoridated tap water is usually all you need to sufficiently rinse your mouth and provide some extra protection for your enamel, but if you don’t have fluoridated tap water where you live, consider using a fluoride mouth rinse as part of your routine for dental care during pregnancy.
If morning sickness makes it difficult for you to practice good dental care at home because it triggers your gag reflex, consider scheduling more frequent cleanings with a dentist.
It’s crucial to practice good dental care during pregnancy to prevent periodontitis. Periodontitis, also known as gum disease, is what follows if gingivitis is left untreated. It’s the leading cause of tooth loss, but severe periodontal disease poses another threat to pregnant women: It increases the odds of preterm and low-birth-weight babies. For that reason, dentists recommend that women treat serious periodontal disease before they become pregnant to reduce those risks.
When to See the Dentist
While routine dental care is safe at any time, when is the best time to undergo dental treatment during pregnancy? In general, the second trimester is the best time to get dental work while pregnant. That’s because by then, you’ve passed the critical first trimester when the baby’s organs are developing, but you’re not yet experiencing the physical discomfort you’ll face during the last few months of pregnancy.
It’s safe to maintain your regular at-home oral hygiene practices and see your doctor for check-ups during pregnancy. While the general recommendation is to avoid getting dental X-rays while pregnant, they can be done safely if they’re necessary for a diagnosis.
When you take good care of your teeth and gums before, during and after pregnancy, you’re doing what’s best for a healthy baby and a healthy you. Always ask your dentist if you have any questions or concerns about taking care of your oral health while you’re pregnant. If you don’t have a dentist, please contact Wekiva Dental at 407-869-7333.