Dental Care During Pregnancy Guidelines

Dental Health
By: Spirit Dental
October 16, 2018

Doctor discussing dental plan with pregnant patient

If you’re pregnant, you might wonder if it’s safe to receive oral health care from your dental hygienist and dentist. Should you stick to your appointments for checkups and cleanings? Is there an increased risk of developing certain oral health problems while pregnant? And is it a good idea to receive more advanced dental treatments while you’re expecting?

These are all valid questions, so we’ve compiled a few dental care during pregnancy guidelines to outline what steps you can take to keep your mouth, and your growing baby, healthy until your due date.

Don’t Neglect Dental Care While Pregnant!

According to the American Dental Association, pregnant women can safely receive oral health care. That includes dental x-rays and local anesthesia. Hooray! Plus, you can even receive emergency dental treatments (think: root canals, restorations, and extractions) while pregnant.

Tip: Have your dentist and obstetrician work together to help ensure any treatments that you receive will be safe.

Note: Some women make it a point to see the dentist during their second trimester, as it might be uncomfortable to be on your back for an extended period of time during the third trimester. Your dentist might even recommend postponing non-emergency procedures until you’ve reached your second trimester, or until after you’ve given birth, depending on where you are in your pregnancy when the oral health problems are diagnosed.  

Pregnancy Means Your Risk for Certain Conditions Might Increase

While pregnant, your body is going through a lot of changes—you are growing a baby inside of your belly, after all! Unfortunately, those changes may come with an increased risk of certain oral health problems, which include:

  1. Gingivitis – hormonal changes throughout pregnancy may actually boost your risk of gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). Left untreated, it could progress to periodontitis (gum disease), which may increase your odds of having a premature baby or an underweight baby. Yikes!

    Tip: if you develop gum disease while pregnant, your dentist can safely perform scaling and root planing, so you can treat it right away. That’s a relief!
  2. Enamel erosion – morning sickness, and the vomiting that comes along with it, may lead to erosion.

    Tip: if you vomit, it’s best to wait before brushing your teeth. In the meantime, simply mix a teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water. Use this mixture as a mouth rinse to neutralize damaging stomach acid.
  3. Pregnancy tumors – the term sounds frightening, no doubt, but pregnancy tumors are caused by hormonal changes that lead to the development of a benign growth on your gums. No need to worry!
  4. Cavities – your risk of developing a cavity while pregnant may increase if you’re snacking more often because of cravings, if you aren’t following your usual oral hygiene routine, or if you have dry mouth, as a few examples.

Steps You Can Take to Keep Your Mouth Healthy Before and During Pregnancy

Are you planning on getting pregnant? Well, there are some steps that you can take right away to maintain your oral health until your baby is born.

First off, set an appointment so that your dental hygienist can clean your teeth. Then, your dentist can check your teeth and gums. If there are any problems that need to be treated, no matter how minimal or advanced they might be, you can get it all done before you become pregnant so you won’t have to worry later on.

After getting pregnant, let your dentist know. Even though routine and urgent care can be provided during any month of your pregnancy, your dentist might advise postponing elective procedures (cosmetic procedures or teeth whitening, for example) until after you’ve had your baby. Letting your dentist know about any medications and supplements that you’re taking is also a wise move.

Beyond seeing your dentist as you normally would, maintaining your oral hygiene routine at home is important while pregnant, even though you might feel really tired. Tip: if you’re experiencing morning sickness that’s making it hard for you to brush your teeth, try a bland-tasting toothpaste.   

Finally, focus on your diet. Sure, you might have cravings for sugary treats, but it’s best to stick with healthy options, like fresh fruit. Eating too many sweets may increase your odds of developing cavities. And did you know that a baby’s teeth start forming roughly three months into your pregnancy? Consuming nutrient-rich foods may help support your little one’s bones, gums, and teeth. Just another reason to eat right!

Happy Mouth, Happy Baby!

Taking care of yourself while pregnant can help ensure that you’ll deliver a healthy, happy baby. Experts recommend staying on track with your dental appointments, while also brushing, flossing, and eating a nutritious diet daily.

With the right dental insurance plan, you won’t have to skip a beat when it comes to keeping your teeth and gums clean and strong before, during, and after pregnancy. And that’s good news because, once your baby is in your arms, you’ll want to take loads of pictures while sporting the biggest smile!


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