Pregnancy and Dental Health

There is a lot to think about and remember when you are pregnant.  There are the prenatal vitamins and all the trips to the doctor.  You have to pick out a pediatrician and figure out how to install a car seat.  And swaddles.  How in the world do you turn a blanket into a baby straight jacket? With all this to think about it is easy to neglect your teeth.  However, in pregnancy there are hormone changes and changes in eating behavior and this makes good oral hygiene incredibly important.  Remember it is not just your health you have to think about, there is a baby to think about too!

Can I visit the dentist pregnant?

Of course! Sometime in your nine month pregnancy you should visit your dentist for a routine cleaning.  At your appointment make sure to tell your dentist you are pregnant.  Routine care be done at any point in your pregnancy.  Urgent matters that require emergency procedures can also be done, but any cosmetic or elective procedure should wait until after the baby is born.  

If your dentist suggests x-rays, they can be done during pregnancy safely.  The dentist will need to take extra precautions to shield your abdomen region; however, modern day x-rays are safe and produce much less radiation than older technologies. However, if it is not an emergency situation, talk to your dentist about your fears.  Many times x-rays can be postponed until after delivery.

Pregnant woman cleaning her teeth at bathroom

Ouch! Sore and Bleeding Gums

Don’t be alarmed if suddenly your gums become much more sensitive and have a tendency to bleed when you brush and floss.  Pregnancy gingivitis is caused by changing hormones which can cause gums to become inflamed.  Gingivitis is a form of gum disease that left untreated can lead to premature birthlow birth weight or preeclampsia.  If your current tooth brush is causing too much pain, try switching to softer bristles and be careful to not push down too hard while you are brushing.  


Morning Sickness

For anyone that has been pregnant you know morning sickness is a misnomer for all day sickness.   During pregnancy your gag reflex can be triggered by ordinary daily activists like brushing your teeth.  If the taste of your toothpaste is too much to handle, try switching to a bland flavor.  If you have frequent bouts of vomiting, make sure to rinse your mouth out with water to prevent acids from lingering on the teeth.  Thankfully, for most women this phase will pass by the end of the first trimester.


Keep Eating Healthy

During pregnancy it is easy to slip up on eating healthy all the time.  Especially if you are nauseas all day every day.  While snacking thought out the day keeps nausea at bay, it can also lead to tooth decay.  The longer food sits on your teeth and gums the more likely bacteria is to build up in your mouth.  In addition, what you are eating now effects the health of your baby.  A baby’s teeth begin to form about three months in.  Make sure to eat adequate amounts of protein and dairy to ensure baby’s teeth grow in strong.  


Baby is Here

If you thought you were tired when you were pregnant, you haven’t experienced anything yet!  When you are barely getting by on two-hour stretches of sleep at a time it can be easy to slip into bed without brushing your teeth.  After pregnancy it takes some time for your hormones to adjust so you can still experience swollen and sensitive gums.  Keep up a good oral hygiene routine to fight off gingivitis and tooth decay.  Also, now is the time to visit the detest and complete any x-rays that were postponed or elective dental work.  Laying in the chair uninterrupted will now feel like a day at the spa!


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