Pregnancy is a very special and exciting time for expectant women and their families. Just as you have doctor visits for prenatal checkups, it’s also important to visit your dentist for prenatal dental care. Dr. Alexandra Aponte will discuss changes in your oral health during pregnancy and what to look for. So, what’s the right way to take care of your oral health when you’re expecting? Here are answers to a few of the most common questions we get asked about dental care during pregnancy.
Q: Does pregnancy make a woman more susceptible to dental problems?
A: Yes. Pregnancy causes big changes in the levels of certain hormones, and these in turn have a huge influence on your body. Many expectant moms experience food cravings and morning sickness at certain times. Both of these can affect your oral health. The acid in vomit can erode your enamel and eating in the middle of the night and then going back to bed without brushing can cause cavities. Your hormone levels can cause your gums to be tender, swollen, and highly sensitive to the harmful bacteria in plaque.
Q: Is it normal to have bleeding gums during pregnancy?
A: Bleeding gums is not uncommon, but it does mean you need to pay careful attention to your oral hygiene. Pregnancy hormones can cause the tiny blood vessels in your gums to become enlarged. When bacteria are not removed from the mouth, the gums may become inflamed and begin to bleed. This condition is often called “pregnancy gingivitis.” If left untreated, it can progress to a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis. That’s one reason why regular brushing and flossing are so important during pregnancy, as well as routine dental checkups and cleanings.
Q: Is it safe to have dental cleanings and checkups during pregnancy?
A: Yes! Dental care during pregnancy is extremely important. From keeping up with daily oral hygiene to monitoring changes in your mouth, the more in-tune you are with your oral health the healthier your baby will be. Poor oral health is known to cause gum disease and is also suspected of being linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes. Your dental health has a big impact on your overall health which has a major influence on the health of your baby, so you must maintain a good dental health routine throughout your pregnancy. Routine dental exams and professional cleanings can help you maintain good oral health and avoid many potential problems during this critical time.
Q: Should I postpone more complicated dental work until after I have a baby?
A: It depends. Most dental treatments are safe during pregnancy. If possible, dental x-rays should be avoided during pregnancy. If we consider it essential for you to have an x-ray, special care and protection will be taken. Most routine procedures like fillings, root canals, and extractions, even if they require local anesthesia, are safe for pregnant women. So treatments that are essential to an expectant mother’s health shouldn’t be put off. However, if you’re planning to have cosmetic dental work, it might be best to wait until after your baby is born.
If you have any questions about your oral health during pregnancy, please contact AquaSprings Dental today to schedule your appointment.