The hormonal changes that take place when you’re pregnant may affect more than just your mood. They can also impact your teeth and gums, adding to the discomfort you already face. It’s important to take extra care of your oral health at this time, to keep both you and your baby healthy.
Knowing what to expect and how to handle it can help, so let’s look at 5 common dental issues women face during pregnancy:
- Third Molar Problems – Pain or swelling may take place in the area near your wisdom teeth (third molars) due to hormonal changes or improper oral care. Partially-erupted wisdom teeth or crowding in the back of the mouth can also cause discomfort and raise the chance of tooth decay.
Don’t ignore wisdom tooth pain, inflammation or other symptoms when you’re pregnant. Without timely treatment, you could end up dealing with a serious infection that threatens your health as well as the health of your baby, especially if it gets into your bloodstream.
- Pregnancy Gingivitis – Gum swelling, tenderness, redness and bleeding are quite common during pregnancy, as a result of hormonal surges. These cause your body to respond more aggressively to bacterial toxins found in dental plaque, so it’s important to maintain proper oral hygiene and get regular checkups as well.
Use a fluoridated toothpaste to brush your teeth twice a day, and make sure to floss your teeth daily as well. If your gums bleed while brushing or flossing, visit your dentist for a checkup right away. Untreated gingivitis can turn into serious periodontal disease, so follow your dentist’s instructions for dental cleaning and care.
- Tooth Decay – Most pregnant women have cravings for sweet or sour foods, which increase the risk of tooth decay as well as sensitivity. In addition to frequent snacking, the acid exposure from morning sickness can also damage the protective enamel of your teeth, affecting your oral health tremendously.
It’s essential to keep up with oral care and dental checkups throughout your pregnancy, since tooth decay can lead to infection, tooth loss and other problems. If brushing or flossing causes you to vomit, rinse your mouth with clean water and try using a fluoridated mouthwash to minimize bacterial buildup.
- Dental X-Rays – It’s best to avoid getting X-rays when you’re pregnant, even though today’s technology has made this process far safer than it used to be. Still, your dentist may need an X-ray of your mouth for diagnosing a problem, especially if you face a dental emergency.
Modern diagnostic equipment is designed to minimize radiation exposure, and the X-ray technician or dentist will cover your abdomen with a protective leaded apron. Make sure they also shield your throat to protect your thyroid, and only get an X-ray if it’s absolutely necessary.
- Antibiotics & Painkillers – You may need numbing medication for root canals, fillings or tooth extractions. These dental procedures can be performed under local anesthesia, which is completely safe for you and your baby. However, inform your dentist that you’re pregnant, so they give you just enough medication to keep you comfortable.
Heavy painkillers, antibiotics, and other medication may harm your unborn baby, so avoid taking anything on your own without first discussing it with your dentist or physician. If possible, procedures that require general anesthesia should be scheduled for after your baby’s birth.
What a Dentist Suggests: Pre-Pregnancy Dental Checkup
If you schedule a complete dental examination and X-ray before getting pregnant, you can ensure that oral problems are diagnosed and treated in advance.
It’s safe to get dental cleanings during your pregnancy as well, which can help you prevent dental problems. Many other procedures can also be performed as normal, but it’s best to get them out of the way as early as possible. What are you waiting for? Call Monarch Dental Clinic to schedule your checkup now!