Pregnancy is such a joyful time, but it can also be a period of anxiety and uncertainty. Some moms-to-be wonder whether it’s safe to go to the dentist during pregnancy. The short answer is that seeing the dentist during pregnancy is not only safe–it’s an essential part of keeping mom and baby healthy. If you delay needed dental care, it can harm your baby’s health. Pregnant women should pay even closer attention to dental care and hygiene because of the impact of hormones on oral health.
Is It Safe For Me To Get Dental Care During Pregnancy?
The American Dental Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Pediatrics agree that women should continue to get dental care during pregnancy.
Keeping up with routine oral care is a must, and women may need extra cleanings during their second and third trimesters to prevent gingivitis. ADA studies have determined that local anesthesia is safe during pregnancy. Dental X-rays are also safe during pregnancy. Dental X-rays involve low radiation levels, and your dentist will provide a leaded apron as an additional precaution to reduce exposure to the abdomen.
According to the ADA, if your pregnancy is high-risk or you have certain medical conditions, your dentist and doctors may recommend postponing some dental treatments. However, in most cases, moving forward with procedures like fillings and crowns during pregnancy is the best approach to preventing potentially dangerous infections.
Why Is Dental Care So Important During Pregnancy?
Oral health problems can affect your baby’s health, and gum disease is especially dangerous.
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, gum disease can lead to preterm delivery and low birthweight babies. Your body’s hormones during pregnancy can also impact your oral health, so it’s essential to keep an eye on your teeth and gums. The ADA identifies several pregnancy-related oral health concerns, including:
- Pregnancy gingivitis: hormone-related inflammation of the gums that can lead to swelling and tenderness. It can lead to gum disease if not treated.
- Increased risk of tooth decay: in some cases, pregnant women may be more susceptible to cavities. Decay may result from a diet higher in carbohydrates. Vomiting related to morning sickness can also expose your tooth enamel to higher levels of acid.
- Pregnancy tumors: In some women, overgrowths of tissue appear on the gums, most often during the second trimester, according to the ADA.
- Loose teeth: according to the Mayo Clinic, progesterone and estrogen can loosen the ligaments and bones that keep your teeth in place, even if you don’t have gum disease. The loosening usually goes away after pregnancy but talk with your dentist if you have concerns.
When Should I Tell My Dentist I’m Pregnant?
Many parents-to-be prefer to wait a few months before sharing the happy news widely. Remember, your dentist is a healthcare provider, so it’s important to let them know as soon as you know–or even if you think you might be pregnant. Be sure to let your dentist know about any prescription drugs you’re taking. It allows them to deliver the best and safest care for you and your baby.
How Can I Take Care of My Teeth and Gums During Pregnancy?
When you’re pregnant, it’s more important than ever to stick with your at-home oral health routine. Keep your teeth and gums healthy with regular brushing and flossing. If you experience nausea when you brush, the ADA recommends changing your toothpaste flavor or changing the time of day for brushings to make it more comfortable. Of course, great nutrition is vital as always. Make sure you’re getting plenty of Vitamins A, C, and D, protein, calcium, and folic acid.
Be aware of the impact hormonal changes related to pregnancy can have on your teeth and gums. Stick with your scheduled check-ups, and don’t hesitate to see your dentist if you have concerns.
At Hall Family Dentistry, seeing patients across generations is one of the greatest joys of our practice. We work hard to keep folks healthy at all stages of life, from childhood to parenthood to the senior years. We’re part of a community of healthcare providers working to keep moms-to-be healthy and safe.