An expectant mother has plenty to keep her mind busy during pregnancy, but there’s one thing that might slip her mind: oral health. While it may be challenging to brush up a minty-fresh toothpaste lather when you have morning sickness, it’s important to stay on top of your teeth during those nine months.
How pregnancy changes your teeth and gums
Your oral health can be affected by your mom-to-be status. Hormone changes during pregnancy actually predispose a woman to gum problems and, if these changes are left untreated, they could have an effect on your teeth.
While occasional bleeding gums are a common side effect in pregnancy, pregnancy gingivitis is a serious inflammation of the gums and not something to be ignored. This issue could lead to periodontitis – the destruction of the bone surrounding your teeth – which could develop into abscess formation (painful!) and potential tooth loss.
How your oral health affects your baby
Your unborn child can also be affected by your dental health. Periodontitis puts you in a higher risk category for preterm labor and a low birth-weight baby. Preventive dental care is crucial during pregnancy.
Dental procedures to avoid during pregnancy
Not all dental procedures get the green light during pregnancy so it’s important for you to inform your dentist about your pregnancy as soon as you step into that office and before you schedule any dental work.
X-rays are off-limits and should only be taken if absolutely necessary. If you have a painful dental problem that must be addressed, you’ll want to discuss it with your dentist and, to be safe, your obstetrician. Some numbing agents may be permitted.
Any cosmetic dentistry procedures can certainly wait until after your baby is born, but it is certainly fine to discuss what interests you for the future!
Outside of your bi-annual cleanings, the best time for any dental treatment is during your second trimester. If possible, delay treatment during the first trimester and end of your third trimester – these are critical times in your baby’s growth so avoid exposing yourself to anything that could affect your child’s development.
Smile, you’re pregnant!
If you would like to schedule a cleaning or consultation with Dr. Ken Cirka at his Philadelphia dental office, be sure to inquire about our complimentary new client exam and don’t hesitate to tell us about any oral health concerns that have developed during your pregnancy.