It’s no secret that a woman’s body goes through many changes during her pregnancy. Most pregnant women seek the advice of their obstetrician on a regular basis throughout the pregnancy to ensure their health and that of their unborn child.
Did you know that women should also make sure to consult with their dentist during their pregnancy?
This is important for both the mom and the baby’s oral health and their overall health.
If you are pregnant and have noticed that your gums are red and swollen from inflammation, a condition called pregnancy gingivitis, you are not alone. Nearly 60 to 75 percent of pregnant women have gingivitis, which is an early stage of periodontal disease.1 It is thought that hormonal changes during pregnancy contribute to the high rate of gingivitis in pregnant women.
What are some dental issues to be aware of?
One is periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue and bone supporting the teeth, leading to loose teeth and eventually to removal of the loose tooth or teeth. An additional concern is that periodontitis has been associated with poor pregnancy outcomes, including preterm birth and low birth weight.2 If you notice that your gums are bleeding more than before you were pregnant, see your dentist who may recommend more frequent professional teeth cleanings until your baby is born.3
Swelling from inflammation makes it easier for food to get stuck between your teeth, so flossing at least once a day is very important for pregnant women, as is brushing using a soft bristled brush and a fluoride toothpaste for at two minutes at least twice per day.
Cavities are also a concern for pregnant women. Research indicates that 1 in 4 women of childbearing age have untreated cavities.4 Research has also revealed that pregnancy can increase the risk for cavities for a number of reasons including increased acidity in the oral cavity, sugary dietary cravings and limited attention to oral health.5 It has also been found that children of mothers who have high cavity levels are more likely to get cavities.6 These children are also more likely to miss school because of dental pain.
What about your tooth enamel?
Gastric acid erodes dental enamel causing cavities, so both morning sickness and acid reflux and heartburn caused by pressure from a baby’s growth, can be problematic. Your obstetrician should be consulted on ways to manage acid reflux and heartburn. If morning sickness is an issue, make sure to rinse your mouth with a teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water after vomiting. This can neutralize acid. Don’t brush your teeth right after vomiting as brushing while there is a lot of acid in your mouth can cause enamel damage.
Another pregnancy related issue that can crop up in some women is a small growth resembling little raspberries that can develop between the teeth due to hormonal changes. These growths, or pregnancy tumors, are not malignant or cancerous. They usually appear in the second trimester and disappear after the baby is born. If they become problematic your dentist can safely remove them during pregnancy.
When should you visit the dentist?
It is important to consult your dentist early in your pregnancy so they can work with you to develop a plan for your dental care while you are pregnant. The second trimester is a good time to have dental work performed, such as cleanings or fillings.7 Teeth cleaning and having dental x-rays done during pregnancy is safe and actually encouraged by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.8 Follow the guidelines above to give your child the best start possible on caring for some of their most precious assets — teeth to chew food and a mouth that is made for smiling.
Regular dental checkups are always highly recommended, especially when you are pregnant. Sedki Dentistry located in Commerce Twp is committed to the longevity of a healthy mouth and smile for a growing family, and it begins before birth.
Our Commerce dental office provides the highest quality dental care in a safe and comfortable environment and provides dental services that meets the needs of the entire family. Using the latest techniques and procedures in general and cosmetic dentistry including restorative treatments and children’s dentistry, you are in good hands with Dr. Sedki. Call today for a Free Dental Consultation!
1,2,4 Pregnancy and Oral Health, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
3,7,8 Four Things to Know About Oral Health and Pregnancy, www.colgate.com
5,6 Oral Health During Pregnancy, American Academy of Family Physicians, 4/15/2008