Dental Care During Pregnancy

Dental Health
By: Spirit Dental
December 21, 2022


Pregnancy is an exciting time for most, but it also comes with added health concerns for both the mother and the child. And while dental health may not be top of mind for a pregnant person, it is still important to pay attention to and practice preventative and proactive care. 

Learn more about the relationship between pregnancy and oral health, and other must-know information for expectant mothers in this blog post.

How pregnancy affects your dental health

Pregnant people experience hormone changes, which can in turn lead to changes in their dental health, such as:

  • Loosening of tissues and bones
  • Increased risk of periodontal (gum) disease 
  • Increased risk of cavities
  • Tooth erosion
  • Different eating habits that affect teeth (e.g., sugary treats)
  • Tender gums and fatigue may lead to being more lax on dental care

Signs and symptoms of dental problems during pregnancy

With these increased risks in mind, note any of the following symptoms of oral health problems:

  • Gums that are red, swollen, tender, shiny or bleeding
  • Loose teeth
  • Spaces that have formed between teeth
  • Mouth sores
  • Bad breath that doesn’t go away after brushing or rinsing

If you experience any of these, contact your dentist right away.

Why dental care is important during pregnancy

Oral health is an important part of your overall health — and even more so when you’re pregnant. After all, a healthier mom means a healthier baby. Certain conditions, including infected teeth and gum disease, are linked to premature birth. Babies born before 37 weeks are at a higher risk for health issues at birth and later in their life. 

How to prevent dental problems during pregnancy

Keeping your teeth healthy during pregnancy includes the same preventative care as you normally practice, starting with proper brushing and flossing twice a day. Continue seeing your dentist for regular exams and cleanings, and be sure to let them know you are pregnant and if you’re taking any medication. 

FAQs about dental work while pregnant

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you’ve likely got a lot of questions about maintaining your oral health. We’ve got answers to the most common questions below.

Do I need to tell my dentist that I’m pregnant?

Yes! It’s extremely important to disclose to your dentist that you’re pregnant. They may have certain precautions for you prior or during your appointment. You should also make them aware of any medications, vitamins and supplements you’re taking during pregnancy and any medical advice your doctor has given you.

Is dental care safe during pregnancy?

Regular dental care should remain part of your normal routine during pregnancy. Cleanings and checkups are fine at any point during pregnancy, but elective procedures should be postponed until after delivery. Some dental work is more extensive and not recommended,  Together, you and your dentist can put together a treatment plan 

Short answer: yes, with some exceptions. Explain how some dental work should not be performed during the first trimester, how some medications should not be taken, etc.

Can you get dental x-rays while pregnant?

Getting dental X-rays is absolutely fine during pregnancy. The amount of radiation used is so low that it won’t cause any harm to a pregnant person or their unborn child. As an added layer of protection, your dentist will also cover you with a special apron and collar when taking the X-rays. 

Can I get a root canal while pregnant?

Both the American Dental Association (ADA) and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) agree that it’s safe for pregnant people to undergo root canal procedures. It’s recommended to do it in your second trimester if possible, after initial nausea has subsided and before lying in the dentist’s chair for too long becomes uncomfortable. In the event you need an emergency root canal, your dentist will take the necessary steps to keep you as comfortable as possible.

Can an infected tooth affect pregnancy?

While a single infected tooth may not seem like cause for alarm, the infection can enter the bloodstream and increase your risk for complications. Infection of any kind can cause harm to your unborn baby, so the benefits of treating it far outweigh the risks of leaving it untreated.

Protect your dental health—and your baby—with dental insurance from Spirit

Don’t neglect your oral health during pregnancy. Keeping up with regular care will help to keep both mother and baby safe and healthy. 

If you need assistance in covering the costs of dental care, dental insurance can help you save money. Explore your options from Spirit Dental & Vision.

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