Being pregnant is a joyous time in your life. While you should be excited by the coming birth of your child, you also want to protect yourself and your unborn baby so that you have the healthiest pregnancy possible, so you take prenatal vitamins, forgo alcohol and nicotine, and take other measures to stay safe throughout your pregnancy.
As you make those changes to your lifestyle, know that your oral health also changes when you are pregnant and needs extra care. Here are ways your oral care needs to change while you are pregnant and what you can do to keep your smile (and your baby) safe and healthy.
You Are More Prone to Gum Disease
The same hormones that help make your baby grow inside your womb are the same ones that affect your oral health. You aren’t imagining things if you feel like your gums are suddenly tender and swollen — swollen gums, a common pregnancy symptom, are caused by hormonal changes in your body and are an issue you should discuss with your dentist.
The reason why swollen gums are a concern is because the condition increases your risk developing gum disease, namely gingivitis, while pregnant. Visit your dentist for regular dental checkups so that you can have your teeth and gums properly cleaned to keep bacteria at bay and help minimize gum swelling.
If you develop signs of gingivitis, including bleeding or painful gums, foul breath, or a bitter taste in your mouth when brushing your teeth, call your dentist right away.
You Can’t Have Certain Procedures Done
While pregnant, you can still have cavities filled, teeth pulled, X-rays performed, and other basic dental procedures done without harming your body. Your dentist will perform these types of procedures only if absolutely necessary and with the utmost care.
However, you cannot have elective procedures done, which may include teeth whitening and other cosmetic procedures. If you have dental work done while pregnant, you may be limited in the type of pain medication or antibiotics you can take. Always let your dentist know you are pregnant and how far along you are, along with any special doctor’s restrictions you have, before getting dental work done.
You Have to Take Extra Special Care of Your Teeth
Having poor oral health while pregnant is not just unhealthy for you; it can cause harm to your unborn baby as well. An infection in your mouth due to gum disease or a rotting tooth can be not only painful for you, but it can cause premature birth or other problems for your fetus.
The best way to protect your baby is to take care of your teeth properly. Floss daily by using a string of floss to gently remove bacteria and plaque from under your gum line. Use a toothpaste designed to strengthen tooth enamel and whisk away plaque, and use a mouthwash morning and night (as recommended by your dentist).
Your dentist may have other suggestions for your oral health while pregnant, including using a prescription toothpaste, particularly if you had issues with oral hygiene prior to pregnancy. Continue to see your dentist twice a year throughout your pregnancy even if you feel your teeth are healthy and don’t require professional care.
Pregnancy affects the health of your teeth and gums in many ways. Taking care of your teeth before, during, and after pregnancy is the best way to prevent gum disease and other oral health problems.
You and your unborn baby both benefit from optimal dental health while you are pregnant. As soon as you know you are pregnant, call your dentist to schedule a check-up for your teeth. The experts at Greenville Center for Sedation Dentistry will assist you in all your oral health needs throughout your pregnancy and beyond.