It’s completely normal to have a packed schedule full of baby showers, breastfeeding classes, shopping visits, and countless doctor’s appointments during pregnancy. However, one area that pregnant women often overlook is their dental health.
Keeping up with your regular oral hygiene routine, including visiting the dentist for professional cleanings, is an essential part of your and your baby’s overall health. Additionally, a dentist can help relieve symptoms of any pregnancy-related dental issues you may be experiencing.
If you’re unsure about how to keep your teeth healthy during pregnancy, keep reading as we discuss the most common concerns pregnant women have about visiting the dentist and which procedures are safe.
How Does Pregnancy Affect Dental Health?
Many people know that a woman’s eating habits may change during pregnancy. However, you might not know that the kinds of foods you eat can also affect your dental health. Because of this, women who develop a “sweet tooth” during pregnancy or drink lots of sugary drinks throughout the day are at a greater risk of developing dental issues. In addition, pregnancy causes numerous hormonal changes in the body. These changes, including increased progesterone and estrogen levels, often affect the teeth and gums and may increase your risk of common dental problems, like cavities, gum disease, and gingivitis.
Finally, pregnant women may avoid brushing or flossing their teeth regularly because their gums are tender, they’re more tired than usual, or because brushing and flossing cause nausea. In any case, it’s best to follow a normal oral hygiene routine (brushing twice per day and flossing regularly) as much as possible.
Dental Care During Pregnancy
Unless otherwise recommended by your obstetrician, you should continue going to the dentist for routine dental care during every stage of pregnancy. Urgent procedures and routine dental work, like fillings, root canals, and extractions, can be done as well and are often necessary to prevent dangerous infections. However, it’s best to postpone elective or cosmetic procedures until after delivery.
X-rays are another routine dental procedure that is considered safe for pregnant women. Still, your dentist will only take x-rays if they are absolutely required for diagnosis or treatment. If you do need x-rays, your dentist will provide you with a lead apron to wear over your neck, chest, and abdomen to protect your baby.
In addition to x-rays, dental treatment often requires an anesthetic to reduce any associated pain. Most topical anesthetics that numb the area around the tooth are fine during pregnancy. However, your dentist will walk you through all of your options before scheduling treatment. Most importantly, before you plan any dental appointments, check with your obstetrician to see if they have any instructions or special precautions for you. Finally don’t take any new medicine, including pain relievers or antibiotics, without talking to your prenatal provider first.
Maintain Your Dental Health During Pregnancy
Most dental procedures, including cleanings, x-rays, fillings, and tooth extractions, can be safely done during pregnancy in the hands of an experienced dentist. If you need preventative or emergency dental care during pregnancy, our team at Flatirons Family Dental & Orthodontics is here to help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.