Both the American Dental Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) agree that receiving dental care during pregnancy is not only safe but can have health benefits for both the mother and the unborn child. This includes dental X-rays, local anesthesia, and conditions that require immediate treatment, such as extractions, root canals, or restorations. Your dentist may choose to consult with your OBGYN before starting treatment.
How Does Being Pregnant Affect Your Dental Health?
Changes in the body during pregnancy increase the mother’s risk of developing certain dental health issues:
- Hormonal changes can exaggerate the body’s response to bacteria in the gum tissue, resulting in gingivitis. Left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease or gum disease.
- Hormonal changes are also thought to trigger the formation of pyogenic granuloma, also known as pregnancy tumors. These are round growths that can be connected to the gingivae by a thin cord of tissue.
- Neglecting dental care during pregnancy can lead to tooth decay as well as gum disease. While having a tooth extracted or getting a root canal won’t affect the health of the baby, it’s still something you’ll want to avoid while you’re pregnant — or at any other time.
- Vomiting can increase acid levels in the mouth, which can cause tooth decay. Before you brush your teeth, rinse your mouth with an antacid to neutralize the acids in your mouth. Brushing your teeth immediately after vomiting can expose your teeth to harmful stomach acids.
Signs You May Have a Dental Health Problem
Oral infections can have a profound impact on the health of both the mother and baby. If you start to experience any of the signs or symptoms of an oral health problem, contact your dentist right away. Some of these signs and symptoms include:
- Halitosis/bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Mouth sores or lumps on the gums
- Swollen, tender, or bleeding gums
- New spaces between your teeth
- Receding gums
- Pus along your gumline
Good Oral Hygiene is Important During Pregnancy
Oral hygiene is about taking care of your mouth, teeth, and gums to maintain good dental health. Good dental health is essential to your overall good health, especially during pregnancy. (Some studies have even suggested a connection between gum disease and premature birth.) Taking good care of your mouth, teeth, and gums can help ensure a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby.
Good dental health care habits during pregnancy include:
- Brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day.
- Getting a dental check-up and professional teeth cleaning every six months.
- Eating healthy foods, including fruit, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.
- A baby’s teeth begin developing between the third and sixth months of pregnancy. Foods rich in calcium, protein, phosphorus, and vitamins A, C, and D are important to helping your baby’s teeth grow healthy.
- Avoid sugary or acidic foods and drinks.
- Using an antimicrobial mouth rinse once a day
- Not smoking.
- Vomiting is one of the symptoms of morning sickness. The vomit often contains digestive acids which can damage your teeth. Using antacids (you can mix one of your own using one teaspoon of baking soda mixed into one cup of water) can help reduce the amount of acid in your mouth. Check with your doctor before taking any antacids, even the OTC variety.
Being pregnant is no excuse to neglect your oral health. Ignoring or neglecting oral health issues could complicate your pregnancy and affect the development of your unborn child.
The Dental Space is the Place for Outstanding Family Dentist Services in San Marcos, TX
The Dental Space is a San Marcos, TX family dentist clinic that provides a full spectrum of family dental services, including thorough dental examinations, professional teeth cleaning, and safe emergency dental services. San Marcos, TX family dentist Dr. McCartor and his team of oral hygienists use the most advanced equipment and pain-free procedures to treat their patients. They have experience treating patients at all stages of pregnancy. The Dental Space also treats patients as young as 6 months. We’ll be here to give your baby their first dental check-up!
Contact The Dental Space online or call us today at 512-667-9770 to schedule an appointment to see Dr. McCartor. If it’s been a while since you visited the dentist, don’t worry — we always welcome new patients.
We’re located in San Marcos, TX at 1101 Thorpe Ln, Suite 101, just off IH 35 in the Springtown Center Shopping Mall. We serve patients in San Marcos and surrounding communities, including Redwood, Kyle, Maxwell, Wimberley, and Reedville. The Dental Space accepts most forms of dental insurance and provides patients with a wide range of payment options.