Most people would avoid the dentist if at all possible. It is commonly known to strike anxiety and stress. So now that you are pregnant, is this your ticket to get out of your routine dental checkups? Unfortunately, no. In fact, it is even more important that you are keeping up with your bi-annual exams and taking extra good care of your teeth.
So how do our teeth and our fetus relate? During pregnancy, your body’s hormone levels increase like crazy. This usually causes our gums to swell and even result in bleeding. If you’ve noticed an increase in gum sensitivity, you can thank your pregnancy hormones for that.
Pregnancy increases the risk of gum disease. Gum disease can be linked to preterm labor, low birth weight and preeclampsia. So this going to the dentist thing is pretty serious business!
While you may not realize it, you may be lacking in dental care when you are pregnant. A lot of women increase their sugar intake while pregnant (hello cravings!). Some struggle with morning sickness which is damaging to tooth enamel. Others deal with an increased gag reflex so their brushing routine is not up to pare. All of these reasons are all the more reason to make sure to visit your dentist.
It is extremely important to maintain good dental hygiene while pregnant. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends pregnant women eat a balanced diet, brush their teeth thoroughly with an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste twice a day, and floss daily.
But what happens if you need something further than just a cleaning? Is it safe to move forward with cavity fillings?
According to the American Dental Association, A study in the August 2015 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association followed a group of pregnant women who had procedures that used anesthetics like lidocaine shots and a group that did not. The study showed these treatments were safe during pregnancy, as they cause no difference in the rate of miscarriages, birth defects, prematurity or weight of the baby. “Our study identified no evidence to show that dental treatment with anesthetics is harmful during pregnancy,” said study author Dr. Hagai. “We aimed to determine if there was a significant risk associated with dental treatment with anesthesia and pregnancy outcomes. We did not find any such risk.”
Going to the dentist may not be one of your biggest priorities right now, however, it should be. Not only is it taking care of yourself, but it is looking out for your baby.
Tips for going to the dentist while pregnant:
• Go during your second trimester. You are more likely to be over any morning sickness from the first trimester, and not too uncomfortable to sit during the third trimester
• Share with your dental hygienist and your dentist that you are expecting
• Talk with your dentist about the risks of x-rays during pregnancy. It is likely that your dentist will feel most comfortable waiting until your next appointment (when you are no longer pregnant)
• If further care is need beyond your routine cleaning, discuss with your dentist the urgency of the procedures and the risks involved
• If you are not able to brush your teeth, rinse mouth out with water or mouthwash after experiencing morning sickness
The March of Dimes provides an Oral Health During Pregnancy fact sheet that gives simple information on why it so important to take care of your teeth especially during pregnancy.
Hello, I’m Erika! I live in Omaha with my husband and our 3 kiddos, 2 dogs and 1 cat. I have a background in early childhood education, but currently staying at home with my littles. I am a yogi-wanna be, cookie connoisseur and snuggle-aholic. You can find my other blog posts featured on Omaha Moms Blog.