Pregnancy is an exhilarating time, filled with excitement and preparation for your new baby. Taking care of our teeth while pregnant can often be the very last thing on our minds and most of us have no idea just how important it is! Both for you and the new baby, maintaining optimum oral health during pregnancy is a must!
Why is Optimum Dental Health While Pregnant so Important?
Exactly like the rest of your body, your mouth experiences changes during pregnancy that require the guidance of a health care professional. Exacerbated hormones in the body can lead to severe inflammation of the gums which surround and protect the teeth.
Many women can develop “pregnancy gingivitis,” in which the gums become swollen, tender, and may even bleed. When the gums are inflamed, it also makes it more difficult to clean around them. As a result, many women try to avoid cleaning them at all.
The good news is that professional dental cleanings by your dental hygienist, paired with careful attention to your regular brushing and flossing routine at home can help keep pregnancy gingivitis under control.
Can Poor Oral Hygiene During Pregnancy Affect My Baby?
Your baby’s health can be connected to your oral health as well. Some studies have linked gum disease to pre-term and low birth weight babies by the plaque in the mother’s mouth transferring through her bloodstream to the unborn baby. This makes it even more important to keep your oral health as immaculate as possible when pregnant.
Some of the preventive steps to protect yourself and your child include brushing twice a day, flossing once a day and seeing your dental professional at least once during your pregnancy.
However, if you do have gum disease, or it escalates during your pregnancy, your dentist may recommend coming in for two or even three cleanings in the span of nine months. This will ensure that plaque does not sit on the gums long enough to cause severe harm.
Throughout your pregnancy, try to be on the lookout for early symptoms of gum disease including:
- Bleeding while brushing
- Loose or separating teeth
- Persistent bad breath
If you recognize any of these issues, notify your dentist as soon as possible. Prompt and proper treatment will benefit both you and your baby. Additionally, if you already know you have gum disease, talk to your dentist about how you can keep under control during your pregnancy.
Is Dental Treatment Safe During Pregnancy?
Most dentists prefer to limit dental work during pregnancy to dental cleanings and annual exams. These preventive procedures are proven to not only be safe but are essential in avoiding oral infections. However, treating any dental emergencies or tooth-related pain may also be advised as it can help mitigate future infection.
If you are pregnant, let your dental office about your pregnancy when you call to make your next appointment. Additionally, if you are taking any medications or have received special advice from your doctor, be sure to share this information with your dentist.