Pregnant women often wonder: ‘Should I go to the dentist if I’m pregnant?’ Pregnancy is an exciting time for most women, with so many changes happening and so much to look forward to. And while there are many health aspects to consider during pregnancy, many women end up unintentionally neglecting their oral health.
Skipping your normal dental appointments while pregnant may not seem like a big deal since it’s not an overly long period of time, but in reality, keeping up with your dental checkups is important during pregnancy, and often even more important than normal.
Should I Go To The Dentist If I’m Pregnant? Yes! Why Dental Care Is Important During Pregnancy
It’s no secret that many hormonal changes take place during pregnancy, and some of these changes can seriously affect your oral health. It’s not uncommon for pregnant women to crave sweet foods and desserts that can end up having a negative effect on their dental health. And for women who suffer from morning sickness, the acid can contribute to eroding dental enamel, which is something that a dentist should always address.
It’s also a good idea to keep in mind that during pregnancy, the baby’s teeth are forming and developing, so maintaining good dental care and a healthy diet just makes sense.
Gingivitis is a common dental issue faced by people from all walks of life, but did you know that up to 75% of pregnant women end up with gingivitis? Gingivitis is one of the earlier stages of periodontal disease, resulting in red, swollen gums. Gingivitis can be aggravated during pregnancy because of various hormonal changes, and if it isn’t treated, it can result in gum infections and even bone loss. Left long enough, bone loss can end up causing loose teeth that may need to be pulled.
There is also a connection between periodontal disease and low birth weight or preterm births, so it’s better to think twice before skipping your dental checkups during pregnancy.
Control Those Cavities
What happens if you have a cavity while pregnant? Untreated cavities are another issue that can end up causing problems during pregnancy. Here are some interesting points:
- One in four childbearing-age women have untreated cavities
- Kids with mothers who have untreated cavities are more likely to have cavities as a child
- Women with higher rates of cavity-causing bacteria during pregnancy can possibly transmit these bacteria to their children
Luckily, all it takes is a visit to your dentist to detect any untreated cavities you may have and get them fixed to prevent any of these problems from happening.
Can I Have A Dental X-Ray?
Many women are fearful of dental x-rays, and for good reason. It’s no secret that x-rays have been associated with negative effects during pregnancy, but modern digital radiography has made it so there are virtually no radiation concerns. This means if you have a dental concern that requires a diagnosis via x-ray, you can have the tests you need so you don’t end up with a serious oral health problem. Just let your dentist know that you’re pregnant, so extra precautions can be taken to shield you from exposure.
So if you are worried about the dangers of dental work while pregnant, rest assured your dentist knows how to keep you and your baby safe so you get the dental care you need.
Keeping Your Oral Health Strong During Pregnancy
Along with maintaining your regular dental checkups, there are several things you can do during pregnancy to keep your oral health where you need it to be. Even though the tendency is to put dental considerations on the back burner, if you can add oral health to your normal pregnancy health routine, you’ll be much better off in the long run. Below are some valuable tips that can help you maintain your dental health throughout your pregnancy.
Oral Hygiene Routine
Most expectant mothers tend to create a health care routine during their pregnancy, and oral hygiene practices should absolutely be added to the schedule. It doesn’t have to be overly complex; typical steps you probably take every day anyway include brushing twice a day, replacing your toothbrush every couple of months, never sharing a toothbrush, and flossing on a regular basis. This dental care routine will go a long way toward keeping your oral health in check.
Dealing With Morning Sickness
Morning sickness is an unpleasant part of pregnancy for many women, but it can also have serious dental health effects if you don’t take it seriously. If you suffer from morning sickness, make sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you vomit to help remove the acidity on your teeth. You can also rinse your mouth with a fluoride mouthwash for a similar effect.
Monitoring Your Diet
Pregnancy and food cravings tend to go hand in hand, and while avoiding sweet and salty snacks altogether may seem impossible, you can limit your consumption. This can be accomplished by adding healthier foods and snacks that contain valuable nutrients, and substituting some of these healthier options when you would normally reach for a snack of lower nutritional quality. You may also want to consider taking a multivitamin that includes iron and folic acid but be sure to speak to your doctor first.
Keeping An Eye On Calcium
One mineral that you may need more of during pregnancy is calcium. It’s no secret that calcium is important for strong bones and teeth, so adding foods like dairy products or green leafy vegetables that are higher in calcium will keep your levels where they need to be. You may also consider taking a calcium supplement if you’ve had issues with low calcium levels in the past.
There’s no reason why you can’t have excellent oral health during the entirety of your pregnancy. You just have to take your dental care seriously and understand the vital connection between pregnancy and oral health. Creating a sound oral hygiene routine to accommodate the unique aspects of your pregnancy will help, as will staying on track with your regular dental checkups. By visiting your dentist and keeping up with dental care during pregnancy, any potential issues will be brought to the surface and can be dealt with before they become serious.