A question we get asked often is if dental care is acceptable during pregnancy. The answer is yes. In fact, delaying any treatment during this time can be bad for you and the baby. Pregnancy can initiate problems with both your teeth and gums.
Due to the increase in hormones during pregnancy, gum problems are more prevalent. Pregnancy gingivitis can occur which causes bleeding and swelling of the gum tissue. Making sure to keep your teeth brushed after meals and using an interproximal aid, like floss, can help alleviate the gingivitis. Some women may even develop bumps on their gums while pregnant. These can make it difficult to brush and clean around them, but they are not usually bothersome. These symptoms usually subside shortly after the baby is born when the hormone levels begin to taper off. If not treated, gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease. This means the bacteria goes below the gum line and can damage the bone and tooth attachments. Untreated periodontal disease can cause pre-term birth and low birth weight.
Since pregnancy can also trigger morning sickness, like nausea and vomiting, dental erosion can occur. This is the loss of enamel because of frequent exposure to acidity. To help stop your teeth from eroding, we recommend rinsing with a teaspoon of baking soda and a cup of water. The baking soda will help neutralize the acidity and allow the enamel to remineralize. It’s important to wait to brush for at least 20 minutes after vomiting to prevent brushing away any softened enamel.
The most frequent concern we hear from our patients is regarding dental radiographs (x-rays) while pregnant. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that a protective apron cover both your throat and abdomen during xrays, but they are considered safe when following these guidelines.
Dental treatment is not only safe, but also very important during pregnancy. Please call us today if you have any questions or concerns about your oral health during your pregnancy.