Dental Care During Pregnancy
It’s important for you to take good care of your teeth and gums while pregnant. Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that increase the risk of developing gum diseases which, in turn, can affect the health of your developing baby.
Common Dental Problems During Pregnancy
1. Pregnancy Gingivitis
Pregnancy gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums that can cause swelling and tenderness. Your gums may also bleed a little when you brush/floss.
2. Increased Risk of Tooth Decay
Pregnant women may be more prone to cavities for a number of reasons. Morning sickness can increase the amount of acid your mouth is exposed to which can eat away at the outer covering of your tooth called enamel.
If you are eating more carbohydrates than usual, it can cause decay.
It’s especially important to keep up your routine, as poor habits during pregnancy have been associated with premature delivery, intrauterine growth restrictions, gestational diabetes and pre eclampsia.
3. Pregnancy Tumours
In some women, overgrowth of tissue called ‘pregnancy tumours’ appear on gums most often during the second trimester. It is not cancer but rather just swelling that happens most often between teeth because of excess plaque. They bleed easily and have a red, raw looking raspberry-like appearance. They usually disappear after your baby is born.
Limitations To Treatment of Dental Problems During Pregnancy
- Dental work such as cavity fillings and crowns should be treated to reduce the chance of infection during pregnancy. If dental treatment needs to be done during pregnancy, the second trimester is ideal. Once you reach the third trimester, it may be very difficult to lie on your back for an extended period of time.
- The safest course of action is to postpone all unnecessary dental work until after the birth. However, sometimes emergency dental work such as a root canal or tooth extraction may be necessary.
- Elective treatment such as teeth whitening and other cosmetic procedures should be postponed until after the birth. It is best to avoid this dental work while pregnant and avoid exposing the developing baby to any risks, even if they are minimal.
- Routine x-Rays can usually be postponed until after the birth of the baby.
Dental Precautions During Pregnancy
The American Dental Association recommends that pregnant women must:
- Eat a balanced diet, brush their teeth twice daily thoroughly with an ADA approved fluoride toothpaste and floss daily.
- Have preventive examinations and cleanings during pregnancy
- Let the dentist know you are pregnant
- Postpone non emergency dental treatment until the second trimester or after delivery, if possible
- Maintain healthy circulation by keeping legs uncrossed while sitting in the dentist’s chair
Enjoy every bit of your pregnancy as this is considered to be the most beautiful and important phase in a woman’s life. Take good care and keep smiling!
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