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Pregnancy and Dental Care – What to Know

Keeping a close eye on your dental health throughout pregnancy is important because it can affect both you and your unborn child.

Crib? Check. Baby bottles? Check. Making an appointment at the dentist? Check. It’s important for expecting mothers to not ignore their oral health throughout the duration of their pregnancy. Whether it’s a routine cleaning or getting a cavity filled, a visit to the dentist is both safe and highly recommended as part of an overall prenatal care plan.

At Horizon Dental, we’re here to help you find the best dental care throughout the course of your pregnancy.

Find a participating dentist, oral surgeon or other oral health professional here.

What should you tell your dentist?

  • Even if you only think you might be pregnant, let your dental office know. Tell them how far along you are when you book an appointment.
  • Let your dentist know about any medications you are taking or if you have received any special advice from your doctor.

Note: It’s important to know dental X-rays (with proper leaded apron shielding of the abdomen and thyroid) and local anesthesia are safe for pregnant patients. If your pregnancy is high-risk or if you have certain medical conditions, your dentist and your doctor may recommend that some treatments or procedures be put on hold.

Dental problems to watch out for while pregnant

  • Pregnancy gingivitis (redness and swelling of the gums, tenderness in the gums, bleeding of the gums even when you brush your teeth gently, and shiny gums)
  • Periodontal disease (a serious infection in the gums and problems with the bones that support the teeth that can send harmful bacteria into the bloodstream)
  • Approximately 40% of pregnant women have some form of periodontal disease
  • Pregnant women with chronic periodontal disease during the second trimester are up to seven times more likely to give birth prematurely
  • Cavities or tooth erosion (morning sickness can increase the amount of acid your mouth is exposed to, which can eat away at tooth enamel)
  • Loose teeth (due to increased progesterone and estrogen hormone levels during pregnancy)
  • New spaces between your teeth
  • Toothache or other pain
  • Mouth sores or pregnancy tumors (swollen, red, shiny lumps along the gums that are not cancerous)
  • Receding gums or pus along your gumline

Remember: If you have pain or swelling, call your dentist right away. If you have an infection, you will need quick treatment to help prevent problems for your baby.

Tips to prevent dental problems during pregnancy

  • Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and floss once a day
  • Limit sugary foods and drinks
  • Avoid smoking
  • Make sure you’re getting enough nutrients, especially calcium, protein, phosphorous and vitamins A, C and D
    • Example: If a pregnant woman is not providing enough calcium to her unborn child, her body will take this mineral from stores in her bones, including her teeth.

Remember, a regular dental checkup is recommended every six months (or twice a year) whether you’re pregnant or not.