Pregnancy Dental Care
What are the Special Dental Health Concerns of Pregnant Women?
Pregnancy health affects women’s teeth and dental care becomes more important than ever. Regular brushing and flossing, eating a balanced diet and visiting your dentist regularly will help reduce dental problems that accompany pregnancy.
Many women notice changes in their gums during pregnancy, such as the gums being red and bleeding when they brush their teeth. Some women have more severe severe swelling and bleeding.
These these changes are referred to as “pregnancy gingivitis.” The changes can start as early as the second month, peaks around the eighth month and then taper off after the baby is born.
Pregnancy gingivitis is most common in the front of the mouth. The symptoms are the same as those for gingivitis, but the causes are increased hormone levels and immune system, which affects the way the gums react to plaque.
What Should I do Before Becoming Pregnant?
Prior to becoming pregnant, there are some things you can do to ensure your mouth and body are as healthy as possible.
- Maintain regular brushing and flossing to minimise plaque and cavities.
- Have a dental check up to get any work done prior to becoming pregnant.
- Get adequate calcium to assist development of your baby’s teeth and bones. Calcium is found in dairy products, legumes, sardines and leafy green vegetables, and your doctor may also prescribe a supplement.
- Limit your intake of sweet and starchy foods. This reduces the likelihood of cavities and may also assist if you are at risk of developing gestational diabetes.
Can I Visit the Dentist When I’m Pregnant?
It’s important to keep up dental visits during pregnancy, and you’ll need to let your dentist know you’re pregnant when you make an appointment. If possible, aim to schedule dental visits in your second trimester of pregnancy. Your baby develops most in the first trimester, and it’s recommended you avoid pain medication, dental anaesthetics and antibiotics during this time. In your last trimester, it may be uncomfortable to sit in the dental chair for an extended period of time. You may also be more susceptible to nausea and gagging during your first and last trimesters.
If you need to schedule an emergency dental visit, let the office know about your pregnancy before you arrive. To help your dentist give you the best care possible, you should discuss any past medical or dental issues, including any prior miscarriages and drugs you are taking, as these can all have an influence on the pregnancy dental care and treatment your dentist will prescribe.