Pearly Whites & Pregnancy

Pearly Whites & PregnancyIf you’re pregnant, the last thing on your mind is making a trip to the dentist. However, giving your teeth some love during pregnancy can have a lasting impact on your bundle of joy. Here’s what you need to know.

Routine Care

If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, schedule an appointment with your dentist if it’s been more than six months since your last checkup. Be sure to tell your dentist you’re pregnant.

Your general routine doesn’t need to change much while you’re pregnant. Brush with a soft brush and a fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day, paying special attention to the gums. Floss your teeth at least once a day.

Pregnancy Gingivitis

Nearly 50% of expecting moms develop pregnancy gingivitis, a gum disease caused by hormonal changes. Symptoms include swelling, bleeding, redness or tenderness in the gums. If pregnancy gingivitis goes untreated, it can develop into periodontal disease.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a serious gum infection linked to low birth weight and premature birth. Bacteria can enter the blood stream and travel to the uterus, causing it to produce a chemical that may induce labor. Nonsurgical periodontal treatment is safe during pregnancy. It can improve gum health, reduce your risk for problems and prevent tooth loss.

Safe Bets

Routine exams and cleanings are safe at any time during pregnancy, but hold off on nonemergency dental work until your second trimester, when the risk of pregnancy loss decreases.

If you have a dental condition that causes severe pain, it can be treated safely at any time during your pregnancy. In the case of an emergency, consult with your dentist before having X-rays taken. If X-rays are medically necessary, the dentist should provide a lead apron with a thyroid cuff around the top to protect you and your baby from radiation exposure. Postpone elective and cosmetic dental procedures until after you give birth to avoid exposing the baby to risks unnecessarily.