If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you probably have a lot of questions about visiting your family dentist. There are several things to know about protecting your teeth and mouth during pregnancy. In this article, we’ll go over some important information to know about caring for your dental health during pregnancy.
Talk to Your Family Dentist About Caring for Your Teeth During Pregnancy
Caring for your dental health is important at every age and stage of life. During pregnancy, it’s also essential to do your best to take care of your teeth and mouth. In fact, pregnancy can even increase your risk for certain dental health issues. What’s more, dental health issues may even be linked to things like preterm birth, low birth rate, and other issues for your baby. Therefore, it’s important to discuss your pregnancy and dental health with your family dentist. Many women even schedule a preconception appointment to talk about how they can protect their smile during and after pregnancy.
Is it Safe to Go to the Dentist While Pregnant?
One common question many pregnant women have is if it’s safe to visit the dentist while pregnant. The answer is not only yes, but it’s actually recommended! Most experts recommend continuing to get dental exams every six months even during pregnancy. These appointments may also be crucial for maintaining good oral health during pregnancy. Therefore, you should absolutely see your family dentist during pregnancy and talk about ways you can protect your dental health during this time.
Are X-Rays Safe for Pregnant Women?
So, what about dental x-rays? Many pregnant women are concerned about getting x-rays at the dentist, for fear that they will expose their growing baby to radiation. It’s a common myth that you shouldn’t get any x-rays during pregnancy. However, for most people, it is safe to get dental x-rays during pregnancy if you need them. Newer x-ray machines put off minimal radiation and our dental team can use leaded aprons to cover your stomach to reduce any exposure to your baby. Also, not getting dental x-rays could put your oral health at risk. Talk to your dentist about any concerns you have about x-rays and if you will need them during your pregnancy. Our team can help design a dental health plan that makes sense for your specific situation.
Ask Your Family Dentist About Risks to your Dental Health
What many people don’t realize is that pregnancy can actually increase your risk for certain dental health conditions. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to talk to your family dentist about your oral health during pregnancy. Here are some of the risks associated with pregnancy:
Pregnant Women May be More Prone to Gum Disease
Hormones during pregnancy can actually increase your risk for gum disease. An estimated 40% of pregnant women will develop gingivitis, which is often a precursor to periodontal disease. Gingivitis can make your gums red and swollen and they may bleed quite easily. Left untreated, you could develop periodontal disease, which can cause liftime issues with your teeth. What’s more, some studies have linked periodontal disease to things like preterm labor, low birth weight, and pre-eclampsia. So, talk to your family dentist about your gum health and what you can do to help prevent gum disease during pregnancy.
Get Recommendations from Your Family Dentist for Protecting Your Teeth During Morning Sickness
Many women experience morning sickness during pregnancy. This can cause frequent nausea and vomiting. Not only is this uncomfortable, but it can also expose your teeth to a significant amount of damaging stomach acids. If you experience morning sickness, you may be more likely to experience enamel erosion for your teeth. Your dentist can help you determine what to do to protect your teeth.
It may help to rinse your mouth with a cup of water and a teaspoon of baking soda to neutralize acids directly after vomiting. From there, you can follow up by applying a small amount of toothpaste to your teeth with your finger to help improve the taste in your mouth and get some fluoride to your teeth. Just remember that it’s usually best to avoid brushing your teeth for about an hour after vomiting, as brushing with that much acid on your teeth can actually remove enamel from your teeth.
Look Out for Gum Tumors During Pregnancy
Some pregnant women develop benign (non-cancerous) tumors on their gums during pregnancy. About 5% of pregnant women will experience these, which are small, raised bumps along the gum line. They usually disappear after giving birth. However, in some cases they may be painful or interfere with normal eating, in which case your family dentist may want to remove them for your comfort and continued health during pregnancy.
Address Cavities ASAP
Changes in diet and other issues during pregnancy may also increase your risk for developing cavities. It’s important to treat cavities as soon as possible during pregnancy. This is to help reduce the risk of further tooth decay. It also may be helpful to your baby, as some studies suggest that you can pass on cavity-causing bacteria to your baby during and after pregnancy.
Tips from Your Family Dentist During Pregnancy
You should talk to your family dentist about what you can do to protect your oral health during pregnancy based on your specific circumstances. However, there are several general tips that the dentist may recommend for you, such as:
Get Plenty of Fluoride
Fluoride is a necessary mineral to keep your teeth strong and healthy. It’s also safe for both you and your baby during pregnancy. Therefore, our dentist may recommend using a toothpaste with fluoride and drinking tap water with fluoride in it to help keep your teeth healthy during pregnancy.
Brush and Floss Daily
Continuing to brush at least twice a day and floss at least daily are essential for keeping your smile healthy, whether you’re pregnant or not. This helps remove bacteria and plaque from your teeth that can cause decay, gum disease, and many other dental health issues.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet and getting all the nutrients you need is important for you, your baby, and your teeth. Limiting sugary foods and drinks, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as taking any necessary vitamins to supplement your diet are all helpful for maintaining a healthy pregnancy and taking care of your oral health. Some key nutrients needed for your teeth and gums include calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin C.
Make an Appointment with your Family Dentist for Any Concerns
If you have any concerns, like tooth pain, bleeding gums, or other issues during pregnancy, then don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with our dentist. If you have a severe issue, then you can visit our emergency dentist for immediate care for things like broken teeth, loose or missing teeth, or dental infections.
Are Dental Procedures Safe During Pregnancy?
So, what if you need dental work during pregnancy? The good news is that most urgent dental work, like cavity fillings and root canals, can be done safely during pregnancy. Local anesthetics specifically have been tested and found safe for both mother and child during pregnancy. So, if you need dental work, don’t delay, as it could only get worse and may increase risks for you and your baby later. For cosmetic or elective procedures, however, you may want to wait until after birth.
Should I Schedule Appointments with My Family Dentist at Specific Times During My Pregnancy?
Another question many people have is whether you need to visit the dentist at a specific stage of pregnancy. The answer is no, you can come in any time. However, many women prefer to schedule their normal dental exams in the first or second trimester, as lying back on the chair may be uncomfortable during the third trimester of your pregnancy. Of course, we are here to help make you as comfortable as possible, so don’t skip your appointment just because you’re in your third trimester. There are things we can do to help you during your appointment.
Get Quality Dental Care at Every Stage of Life at The ToothBooth
When you need quality dental care in Katy, Texas, choose our team at The ToothBooth. Our dentist, Dr. Taha, offers experienced dental care for every stage of life. We treat the whole family, from toddlers to grandparents. You can rely on us for comfortable, good quality dental care for all your smile’s needs. Call us now at (832) 437-0841 to schedule an appointment!