While many pregnant women think they’re protecting their unborn children by not getting dental care, the opposite is often true. Going to the dentist while pregnant is safe and is recommended by the American Dental Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. While you are pregnant, you’re more at risk for gingivitis and tooth decay. It’s also true that the mother’s oral health is linked to the overall health of her and her baby.
Why Pregnant Women Need Dental Care
Going to the dentist while pregnant is just as important as seeing your obstetrician. In fact, studies show that pregnant women have a higher risk of gum disease than women who are not expecting. During pregnancy, your body undergoes hormonal changes that increase your risk for sore gums and sensitive teeth.
We understand that many of our pregnant patients are concerned with the safety of dental x-rays and treatments. Your dentist will share your concerns for keeping your unborn child safe. For example, your dentist might postpone certain dental procedures if you have a high-risk pregnancy. Let your dentist know if you’re pregnant or suspect you’re pregnant so they can take proper precautions.
Hormonal Changes and Gingivitis
According to WebMD.com, 40% of pregnant women develop gingivitis. Pregnancy gingivitis is when your gums bleed easily, swell, or are tender due to hormone fluctuations during pregnancy. Poor oral health during your pregnancy can even be passed onto your baby, so it’s important that you practice good oral hygiene and schedule dental checkups every 6 months.
Morning Sickness and Tooth Decay
Did you know morning sickness increases your risk of tooth decay? Vomiting increases acid in the mouth, which weakens tooth enamel over time. Your dentist can determine whether your morning sickness is affecting your oral health, as well as give you recommendations for preventing cavities. After vomiting, wait 30 minutes to brush your teeth so enamel has enough time to recover after being exposed to acid.
Dental Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy
Let your dentist know if you’re pregnant or think you might be pregnant. While many women don’t experience oral health issues during pregnancy, hormonal changes can be enough to aggravate certain medical conditions. For example, women with pre-existing gum disease tend to have worse symptoms during pregnancy.
While a dental checkup and teeth cleaning are safe at any point of your pregnancy, you’ll want to avoid major procedures during the first trimester. However, your dentist may recommend urgent dental care for an abscess tooth or other oral health emergency where there is risk of infection.
Inform your dentist that you are expecting, and they will take extra precautions to ensure the safety of your baby. Ask your dentist about any other risks involved with dental checkups while pregnant and how you and your baby can remain as healthy as possible.
Our Grand Rapids dentist and his staff are dedicated to helping you maintain good oral health by offering a range of preventative dentistry services. To schedule your dentist appointment, call Complete Health Dentistry at (616) 458-7267.