Dental health during pregnancy
Dental health is likely your least priority when you fall pregnant. What could pregnancy possibly have to do with your oral healthcare? A lot, actually!
Unfortunately, pregnancy increases your risk of getting specific dental health problems and can lead to complications. Therefore, it’s vital to let your dentist know you are pregnant and regularly visit to receive optimal care during this delicate time.
How pregnancy affects your dental health
When expecting, moms need to be extra cautious of how they care for their bodies and what they put in them, as they run the risk of impacting the baby later on. This is especially crucial for oral hygiene. Allowing your oral health to deteriorate can result in cavities and decay, but it can do the same for your unborn child.
Pregnant women experience significant hormonal changes that can affect how their body functions. For example, higher levels of oestrogen can lead to gingivitis (gum disease) and more severe symptoms. In fact, around 75% of pregnant women have early-stage gum disease. This is because oestrogen elevates your inflammatory response to bacteria.
Changes in behaviour, hormones and what you eat during pregnancy can cause frequent tooth decay and cavities, which you can pass on to your baby and cause issues for them later in life.
Too much plaque can lead to non-cancerous pregnancy tumours on the gums. These are swollen, red lumps that form between the teeth and typically go away after giving birth. It’s essential not to pick at these tumours as they bleed easily. In rare cases, you may need a doctor to remove the tumours.
Frequent and recurring morning sickness can expose your teeth to too much acid and cause the enamel to weaken and erode. Erosion can lead to decay, discolouration and even tooth loss. Take note if you have frequent nausea and vomiting, and chat with your dentist about ways to prevent tooth erosion.
Signs to look out for during pregnancy
Should you start to see signs or symptoms or dental health concerns, set up a consultation with your dentist urgently for early diagnosis and treatment.
- Bad breath, even when brushing frequently
- Lumps or sores on the gums
- Swollen, red and bleeding gums
- Receding gum line
- Toothache or mouth pain
Treating dental conditions during pregnancy
Visiting the dentist while pregnant is completely safe. We are trained to care for all patients and have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to various conditions and how they impact you and your baby.
If you are experiencing dental health problems, visit us, and we will perform a comprehensive assessment and diagnosis, followed by a step-by-step treatment plan.
Pregnancy-safe treatments include:
- X-rays: Dental X-rays are completely safe during pregnancy and won’t cause any harm to you or your unborn child. We use dental X-rays to help diagnose specific conditions and assess the health of your teeth and jaw.
- Medication: We can prescribe medications like antibiotics and painkillers to alleviate any symptoms or infections you have.
- Local anaesthesia: It is safe to administer gentle sedation techniques that numb specific areas we treat during pregnancy.
Maintaining your dental health during pregnancy
The most effective ways to keep your oral health in check during this special time are with a proper oral hygiene routine and regular dental visits.
- Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and floss twice a day
- Visit the dentist every 6 months for dental check-ups and teeth cleanings
- Eat a nutritious diet and limit sugary foods and drinks such as sweets and sodas
- Use antacids and mouth rinses for frequent morning sickness
Ensure that you inform your dentist of the following as well:
- If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant
- The medications you are on
- If you are experiencing any dental health concerns
- If you have a history of dental conditions
- If you have a high-risk pregnancy
Find out more about JJS Dentistry and our treatments.