Dental Health in Pregnancy
Published on October 28, 2014 by Virginia Women's Center
While it might be the last thing on your mind when you find out you’re pregnant, the health of your teeth and mouth matters during pregnancy. In fact, oral health is a significant component of your overall health through each age and stage of life. Maintaining good oral health may have a positive effect on cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other disorders.
If you’re not in the habit of practicing good oral hygiene and prevention, pregnancy is the perfect time to start. General dental care that should be continued throughout pregnancy (and beyond) includes:
- Brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day
- Flossing between your teeth daily
- Visiting your dentist twice a year for a professional cleaning and check-up
- Limiting sugary foods, drinks and snacks
Dental Concerns Unique to Pregnancy
Dental work and X-rays during pregnancy: Even during pregnancy, you should continue to have your preventative check-ups/professional cleanings with your dentist. Any treatment or dental work that is necessary during pregnancy is safe to be performed; however, elective dental work should wait until after you deliver. Generally, it is recommended that pregnant women avoid routine dental X-rays during pregnancy. However, in the case of a dental emergency where X-rays are necessary, your dentist will use shields for your abdomen and thyroid to protect you and your baby.
Pregnancy gingivitis: During pregnancy, some women find that their gums will become inflamed and will sometimes even bleed. This condition is called pregnancy gingivitis and is a mild form of gum disease that can cause your gums to be red, tender and sore. To prevent gingivitis, the general dental care tips listed above should be followed. If those are not sufficient, rinsing with saltwater may help ease the irritation. Your dentist may also recommend more frequent cleanings to help keep gingivitis under control so that it does not progress to more serious gum disease.
Morning sickness: If you experience morning sickness and are vomiting frequently or have gastric reflux in late pregnancy, try using an antacid or rinsing with baking soda and water. These at-home solutions can help neutralize the acid so it does not affect your teeth.
In addition to the tips listed above, a nutritious and well-balanced diet plays an important role in your dental health as well as the development of your baby (even his or her teeth!). If you notice any changes in your oral health during pregnancy, it’s important to consult with your dentist so that necessary treatments can be performed before problems progresses to bigger issues.
About Virginia Women’s Center
Our care team – comprised of OB-GYNs, high-risk pregnancy specialists, nurse practitioners, ultrasound technologists, psychologists and a genetic counselor – are experienced in all aspects of pregnancy and welcome the opportunity to help you LIVE HEALTHY during your pregnancy. We have added all of these services and specialists to our practice not only for your convenience, but also because we believe that you will benefit from a coordinated and comprehensive approach to your pregnancy care. For more information, visit www.VirginiaWomensCenter.com, or find us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.