Dental Care During Pregnancy
If you’re expecting, you may be wondering: Can I have dental work while pregnant? The truth is, staying on top of dental care during pregnancy is even more important than at other times.
Poor oral hygiene has been tied to a number of health risks, including heart conditions. However, did you know there’s a link between oral health and being pregnant? For example, 60-75% of all pregnant women experience inflammation of the gums, according to the American Dental Association.
Pregnancy, like menopause and menstruation, makes for gums that are more sensitive. In fact, the condition is so prevalent it has a name: “pregnancy gingivitis.” Researchers think this is due to the increase in hormones pregnant women experience. Changes in diet and eating habits while pregnant may also be partly to blame.
Many women ask, “Can tooth decay harm my unborn baby?” Some studies suggest that poor oral health during pregnancy may indeed lead to premature birth or low birth weight. Moreover, after delivery, mothers with poor oral health may pass bacteria that cause cavities along to their children.
Help Ensure a Healthy Pregnancy
Mothers-to-be can do many things to help ensure a healthy pregnancy. To begin with, you can go in to see your dentist for a full exam. Let your dentist know that you are, or think you are, pregnant.
Your dentist can carry out many dental procedures safely during pregnancy. Your dentist may even recommend some extra steps at this time. For example, she may suggest that you come in for extra teeth cleaning in third trimester to help avoid gum disease.
In addition, there are easy things that you can do on your own. For one, try to limit sugary snacks between meals. Moreover, of course, you should be vigilant about regular brushing and flossing.
Dental X-Rays During Pregnancy
Dentists rely on x-rays to assess oral health. The x-ray process helps your dentist see more clearly what’s going on with your teeth and gums.
There may be no need to put off dental x-rays if you’re pregnant. Exposure to radiation from x-rays is very small compared to the daily exposure we receive from our natural environment.
Therefore, if she believes you need to move forward with dental work before your baby is born, your dentist may ask for x-rays. If so, remember: X-rays not only help ensure your oral health; they may also reveal dental issues that could harm your child.
Consider Your Child’s Oral Health before the Bundle of Joy Arrives
Oral health is a key part of overall health. Therefore, it’s not surprising that a mother’s oral health also plays a role in the health of the baby she’s carrying.
To revise the old saying, mothers-to-be are not only eating for two, they’re also brushing and flossing for more than just themselves. So take extra steps to maintain your oral health when pregnant. You and junior will both be glad you did.
Read next: 4 Most Overlooked Oral Health Problems