Dental Care in Pregnancy
It's important for you to take good care of your teeth and gums while you're pregnant. Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that boost the risk of developing gum disease which, in turn, can affect the health of your developing baby.
Below are some tips to help you maintain good oral health before, during, and after pregnancy.
Before You Get Pregnant
Try to make a dental appointment before getting pregnant. That way, your teeth can be professionally cleaned, gum tissue can be carefully examined, and any oral health problems can be treated in advance of your pregnancy.
Dental Care While Pregnant
- Tell your dentist (and doctor) if you are pregnant. Routine dental care can be done any time during pregnancy. Any urgent procedure can be done, as well. All elective dental procedures, however, should be postponed until after the delivery. Before you have your dental appointment, check with your obstetrician to see if they have any special precautions/instructions for you.
- Tell your dentist the names and dosages of all drugs you are taking, including medications and prenatal vitamins prescribed by your doctor, as well as any specific medical advice your doctor has given you. Your dentist may need to alter your dental treatment plan based on this information.
- Dental X-rays can be done during pregnancy. Your dentist will use extreme caution to safeguard you and your baby, such as shielding your abdomen and thyroid. Advances in technology have made X-rays much safer today than in past decades.
- Don't skip your dental checkup appointment simply because you’re pregnant. Now more than any other time, regular exams are important because pregnancy causes hormonal changes that put you at increased risk for periodontal disease and for tender gums that bleed easily, a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. Forty percent of women will develop gingivitis sometime during their pregnancy. If you already have significant gum disease, being pregnant can make it worse.
- Pay particular attention to any changes in your gums during pregnancy. If tenderness, bleeding, or gum swelling occurs at any time during your pregnancy, talk with your dentist or periodontist as soon as possible.
- Follow good oral hygiene practices to prevent and reduce oral health problems, which include brushing at least twice a day, flossing once a day, and using an antimicrobial mouth rinse. If you are due for a professional cleaning, don't skip it simply because you are pregnant. Now more than ever, professional dental cleanings are particularly important. Gum disease that doesn't get better may need to be treated by a dental professional. Treatments may include antibiotics and excision of affected tissue.