There are many myths that surround your oral health when it comes to pregnancy. No matter what you might hear, there is one thing that is certain: the primary changes you see during pregnancy are due to a large surge in hormones, with an increase in estrogen and progesterone. Unfortunately, these hormonal changes can magnify the way your gum tissue reacts to plaque, so it’s crucial to keep up with your dental care during pregnancy.
What Should Be Done to Ensure a Healthy Pregnancy?
First of all, if you are planning on becoming pregnant, it is a good idea to go in to your dentist and get a checkup. Make sure you go ahead and treat any pre-existing oral problems that could accompany your pregnancy and dental health.
During your pregnancy, you need to make sure to give your gums and teeth extra attention. Keep brushing and flossing regularly and focus on eating a balanced diet. You also need to make sure you are setting up regular visits to your dentist so that they can assist you in reducing dental problems that can occur during a pregnancy.
What Types of Oral Problems Can Occur While Pregnant?
It has been shown in several studies that many pregnant women get pregnancy gingivitis. Check out Flintlock Dental’s blog on gingivitis for more information on this disease. Gingivitis tends to occur more often during a pregnancy due to the increased levels of hormones. These hormones magnify the way the gums react to irritants in plaque. This does not mean that hormones are the only factor in gingivitis. It is still the plaque that causes this gum disease, so you can fight against the problem with good oral hygiene.
Simply making sure you keep your teeth clean, especially up near your gum line, will help reduce and even prevent gingivitis during a pregnancy. You can also substitute sweets in your diet and reduce sugar consumption to further prevent the chance of gum disease.
What Will a Dentist Visit Look Like When I Am Pregnant?
The first thing to do is to make sure you let your dentist office know that you are pregnant when you call to make the appointment. This is due to the fact that the use of x-rays as well as anesthetics and pain medication is affected by pregnancy. These are all things that should not be administered during at least the first trimester of a pregnancy, so you want to make sure that the office is aware of your situation.
It is overall best to schedule your appointment during the fourth thru sixth month of your pregnancy. Doing this ensures you are healthy and through the first three months (which are most important to the baby’s growth and development) and you are not into the last trimester, where you can become uncomfortable sitting for longer periods of time. It has also been shown that stress can lead to prenatal complications, and sometimes a visit to the dentist can induce stress, so that is yet another reason to try and avoid the dental appointment in the last trimester of your pregnancy.
Should you need to get into the dental office due to an emergency, again make sure the office knows you are pregnant. Take the time to discuss any health issues or concerns you have had in the past, as these types of things can influence how your visit to the dentist will go. Depending on the situation, it may also be important for your dentist to discuss your medical history and needs with your doctor prior to your visit.
Most of the time, going to the dentist during your pregnancy will involve brief appointments and will usually just consist of a quick checkup and cleaning to make sure your gums and teeth are healthy. These appointments should be stress-free. Again, it is safest to try and not schedule the dental appointments much into the third trimester, but brief ones if needed are okay.
Any elective procedures that may come up in your visits are best to be done after your baby arrives, if they can be held off until then.
It is best to have a good schedule of dental cleanings already in place before you are pregnant so that when the time comes, your dentist is already aware of your oral health and knows you as a person and patient. This will make office visits during your pregnancy stress-free and quick!