Pregnancy and Dental Care
Many women, understandably, have worries and questions about dental care and how it connects to and can influence pregnancy. In reality, pregnancy causes hormonal changes that raise the risk of gum disease, which can have a detrimental impact on the health of the life growing inside you, which is why it's critical to keep your oral health in mind throughout your pregnancy.
Let's take a look at what happens to your dental health before, during, and after pregnancy and also how a Rockhill, SC dentist can help.
Recommendations Before Getting Pregnant
Try to schedule a dentist visit before you conceive when you're planning your pregnancy. Of course, we recognize that this is not always possible, but if it is, we encourage scheduling a dental appointment for a variety of reasons:
- Many women find that their oral health needs change during pregnancy, including more frequent dental visits and changes in medications they are taking. By visiting the dentist before getting pregnant, you can have a plan in place to address any issues or concerns at this time, before your body undergoes major hormonal changes.
- Stressful life events, such as pregnancy, can sometimes lead to poor oral health habits. If you have any concerns about your ability to maintain good dental habits during pregnancy, meeting with a dentist beforehand can help identify solutions and put a plan in place.
- Your dentist can conduct a thorough cleaning and exam before you conceive. This can help remove any build-up of plaque or tartar and identify any potential problems that may need to be addressed during pregnancy.
Regardless of when you get pregnant, it is important to take good care of your oral health throughout your pregnancy. Here are some recommendations for maintaining healthy teeth and gums:
- Be sure to brush at least twice a day, using fluoridated toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. You may also want to consider investing in an electric or battery-operated toothbrush for extra cleaning power.
- Floss at least once per day, preferably before bedtime. This will help remove plaque and food debris from between your teeth and under the gum line, which can otherwise lead to gum disease and other oral health problems.
- See your dentist regularly for cleanings and exams. This is especially important during pregnancy, as hormonal changes can make you more prone to gum disease or other dental problems. Your dentist may also recommend taking certain supplements or foods to help improve the health of your teeth and gums.
Taking Care of Your Teeth While Pregnant
First and foremost, inform your dentist, as well as any other medical professionals you may consult, that you are pregnant. Routine dental care, as well as any emergency operations, can usually be done during pregnancy; however, elective oral procedures should be postponed until after the baby is born. There are a few more things to consider when it comes to oral care during pregnancy:
- Inform your dentist about any medical advice you've received from your doctor, as well as the names and dosages of any drugs and/or prenatal vitamins you're taking.
- X-rays of the teeth? This is a question we get a lot. Dental X-rays can be taken during pregnancy with extra caution and safety procedures in place, such as wearing a lead apron to protect your abdomen and thyroid from radiation exposure. In recent decades, technological developments have made dental X-rays much safer to perform.
- Remember to keep your dental appointments for routine cleanings! Hormonal changes during pregnancy, as previously mentioned, can increase the risk of periodontal disease and pregnancy gingivitis. If you already have gum disease, pregnancy can make it worse, so make sure you stay up with your oral hygiene routine and dentist appointments.
- Monitor your gums for pain, bleeding, or swelling, which should be discussed with your dentist.
- Keep up with your regular dental hygiene routine, which includes brushing twice a day and flossing on a regular basis.
- If the taste of ordinary toothpaste is making you feel nauseous, consider switching to a more bland toothpaste. Additionally, if your morning sickness causes you to vomit, make a point of rinsing your mouth regularly to remove any bacteria or particles.
- Although cravings are natural throughout pregnancy, try to avoid foods and beverages that can harm your teeth. Sugary foods, as well as soda and "sugar-free" drinks, can all contribute to tooth damage.
- Eat nutritious foods that help to keep your teeth's enamel. In fact, as your unborn child grows, consuming a well-balanced diet becomes increasingly important; a baby's teeth usually appear around 3 months of pregnancy.
Following the Birth of Your Child
Congratulations! You've brought a new life into the world, and this is only the beginning of your journey. If you had gum problems throughout your pregnancy, we recommend arranging a dental appointment with us at River District Smiles Dentistry as soon as possible following the birth so that your dentist may thoroughly assess your oral health and address any problems as soon as feasible.
We recognize that this is a delicate and emotional moment in your life, and we're here to help you with any dental concerns you may have throughout your pregnancy. Please don't hesitate to contact us at any time!