Having a baby is a special time in life, but one aspect that pregnant women may not realize is also important to them and their baby is the importance of dental care. This is because the pregnant woman may experience an increased risk for serious dental problems.
Just like when they are not pregnant, women must take special care of their teeth and gums.
Do you want to know about the fascinating relationship between your pregnancy and teeth? Read this guide to learn more.
Dental Needs in Each Trimester
Some parts of pregnancy may require you to have different needs than in another trimester, yet they are all important to know. Here are some of the dental care requirements you should do in each trimester of pregnancy.
Congratulations on getting pregnant!
An infamously negative aspect of the first trimester, though, is the dreaded morning sickness. Morning sickness typically leads to vomiting. While experiencing this in the first trimester and beyond, you need to use toothbrushes with smaller-sized heads and a mild-flavored prescription fluoride toothpaste or rinse.
Also, keep in mind that the higher levels of hormones during this time can lead to your teeth and gums getting extra sensitive. Just make sure you let your dental practice know you are pregnant and see them every six months for a cleaning.
If you need to have any important dental treatments while you are pregnant, the second trimester is touted as the best trimester to do so. This means the elective needed treatment should be done between fourteen to twenty weeks.
One important reason for this is because if you need a treatment that requires an X-ray, these weeks are the last time you can get one safely.
At the beginning of the third trimester, it is still acceptable to go to the dental practice for elective oral care. But as it gets closer to the finish line, you should avoid getting a routine dental treatment starting in the middle of your last trimester.
This is to ensure you do not experience any unnecessary risk of premature labor. It also keeps you from spending a lot of time on your back, which puts pressure on your vena cava nerve. If there is pressure, you may have nausea and limit the blood flow needed for the fetus.
After that point, any non-emergency dental treatments should be delayed until after the birth.
As you can see, oral health still plays a big role throughout the time you are pregnant. If you need a treatment necessary for your health, you should have it. But if you or your dentist have any plans to perform major dental surgery, it might be best to wait on doing so until after you have your baby.
Risk of Periodontal Disease
One important dental issue to take seriously is periodontal disease, caused by untreated gingivitis. You should watch out for:
- Bleeding, tender, or inflamed gums
- Chronic bad breath (halitosis)
- Tooth loss or decay
If you experience this while pregnant, you will have an increased risk of pre-term labor and babies with low birth weight.
Risk of More Cavities
Cavities are more likely to occur to pregnant women during this time thanks to changing lifestyle and diet habits. When the mother has a lot of bacteria in her mouth, they could transmit these bacteria from their mouth to the mouth of their baby. This can make the baby have a higher chance of cavities and extensive dental care in their early childhoods.
So brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss, and limit the consumption of sugary drinks and snacks.
Treatments to Avoid
The good news is that regular and emergency dental care, which includes local anesthetic and radiograph use, is perfectly safe at each stage of pregnancy, according to the American Dental Association. But there are a few treatments that you should not get at any time during it.
Some of the treatments you should not get are an X-ray and any extensive dental work.
While it is shown that X-ray doesn’t have a radiation dose significant enough to cause adverse effects in a developing embryo or fetus, it is still something to not get. If you do need to get an X-ray done, make sure your practice provides a lead garment that fits over your chest and stomach so there is little room for exposure.
Always consult your dentist and OBGYN to see which oral health treatments are best for you and your unborn child.
Schedule an Appointment During Postpartum
Your dental care does not stop after you have your baby.
Once you have come out of the hospital and are adjusting to motherhood, you should schedule a routine teeth cleaning and exam. When a baby is born, it is common for most mothers to disregard any of their physical needs for the sake of their child. Yet that does not help the mother get the care they deserve.
Dental Care Matters When It Comes to Pregnancy and Teeth
Many women don’t know that the wonders of pregnancy and teeth can go hand in hand. If you take care of your teeth during those special nine months, you will be less likely to experience any issues with your teeth and gums. No matter if you are pregnant or a new mom, oral care is important.
If you’re thinking more about how pregnancy can affect your oral health, schedule an appointment with us today so we can give you advice on how to take care of your teeth for the next nine months. You can book online or over the phone at 805-375-9383.