Taking care of your dental health is more important than ever when you are pregnant.
Here we’re going to explain the importance of paying attention to your teeth, mouth and gums during pregnancy and why it’s essential that you see your dentist during this time.
Changes to your dental health during pregnancy
Your body undergoes many changes during pregnancy, and these can affect your dental health.
Your fluctuating hormones mean that your gums are more vulnerable to plaque. As it builds up, you may suffer from swollen and bleeding gums. This condition is known as pregnancy gum disease or gingivitis.
If left untreated, this can progress to periodontitis or advanced gum disease. Unfortunately, this cannot be reversed, only managed, and can lead to tooth loss.
There are more good reasons why you should get any signs of gum disease checked out straight away — there’s a link between gum disease and an increased risk of pre-eclampsia, giving birth prematurely and delivering an underweight baby.
That’s why oral health and dental care during pregnancy are so important.
Is the dentist safe when pregnant?
Yes, going to the dentist is safe during pregnancy, and in fact, it’s really important to keep up with regular checkups.
This will mean your dentist can look for any issues, such as gum disease, and treat them early on.
If you do have gum disease, rest assured that it can be treated successfully. Your dentist may recommend a special mouthwash and advise on your cleaning routine.
They may also carry out a deep clean to remove hardened plaque and the bacteria that can cause gum disease.
When you visit the dentist, you should let them know you are pregnant. This means they can avoid unnecessary x-rays, which ideally should not be done during pregnancy.
However, if you are having urgent root canal work, you may need an x-ray. Your dentist will be able to make a judgement on whether this should be done during your pregnancy.
Knowing that you are pregnant will also help your dentist assess whether you can safely have anaesthesia or medication for any dental health issues.
What else do I need to know about pregnancy and dental health?
Make sure you stick to a good oral hygiene routine during your pregnancy. This should include:
- Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day, including before you go to bed
- Cleaning in between your teeth with floss or interdental brushes once a day
- Using mouthwash
- Visiting your dentist regularly for checkups
It’s also a good idea to pay attention to your diet, ensuring that it is tooth-friendly. This includes cutting down on sugar and acidic foods and drinks that can harm the teeth.
Make sure that you include plenty of calcium to help your baby grow strong teeth and bones. You can do this by eating cheese and yoghurt and drinking milk.
And if you’re suffering from pregnancy sickness, it’s a good idea to rinse your mouth out with water after vomiting. This prevents the acid in your vomit from harming your teeth.
Your friendly local dentist
If you’re newly pregnant…congratulations! Now is a good time to go for a dental checkup to ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy during your pregnancy.
Our team here at Opal Dental, a family practice serving the Te Atatu area, would love to see you.
Book an appointment today and come and see us in our bright and friendly clinic. We’re here to help make your pregnancy a healthy one…and that extends all the way to your teeth and gums!