What You Need to Know About Pregnancy and Oral Health

What You Need to Know About Pregnancy and Oral Health

Pregnancy is a time when you should be very focused on your physical health, as decisions now affect your unborn child as well. This includes paying attention to your oral care, since oral health and general physical health are closely linked. It’s not uncommon to have many questions about dental care or natural dentistry when you’re pregnant. Should I continue to see the dentist during my pregnancy? More or less often? Will my pregnancy affect the condition of my mouth? What procedures can be performed while I’m pregnant?

Your dentist can provide detailed answers to these questions and others you may have, but here are some quick tips to keep in mind about pregnancy, oral health & teeth cleaning.

Tell your dental care team as soon as you know

When you find out that you are pregnant, contact your dentist’s office and let them know. They deal with pregnant moms on a regular basis and can provide great general information on oral health and pregnancy that will put your mind at ease. They’ll also work with you to create a plan for your dental care during your pregnancy.

Be aware of “pregnancy gingivitis”

Fluctuations in hormone levels during pregnancy can result in your gums reacting more negatively to the presence of plaque. This can cause tender, red, swollen gums that bleed more readily. This change can occur as early as the second month. If what’s referred to as “pregnancy gingivitis” is left untreated, it can progress into periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease.

A related issue is non-cancerous growths in the mouth called pregnancy tumors. They form when swollen gums become further irritated, but generally go away on their own after your baby is born. Nevertheless, be sure to tell your dentist if you find pregnancy tumors developing.

The best way to prevent pregnancy gingivitis is to pay special attention to your oral care with natural dentistry. Gently brush your teeth at least twice a day (ideally after every meal), making sure you clean the area near the gumline, and floss daily. You can also benefit from using an anti-plaque mouthwash. In addition, more frequent dental cleanings are also recommended to help keep your gums healthy.

Gingivitis and low birthweight babies

Researchers are beginning to uncover a link between a mother’s gingivitis and preterm, low birthweight babies. Studies seem to indicate that the excess bacteria present in the mouth with gingivitis can enter the bloodstream through your gums and make its way to your uterus. There, it stimulates the production of hormones called prostaglandins, which are associated with early labor.

Cleanings and other procedures

As noted above, dental cleanings or teeth cleaning can help prevent “pregnancy gingivitis.” Consequently, you should schedule one or more of them during your pregnancy. While other elective procedures, including non-emergency x-rays, are best left until after your baby is born, cleanings are safe and recommended.

Dental emergencies

If you have a dental emergency, don’t hesitate to see your dentist. There are baby-safe treatments for any dental situation. If an urgent issue arises, be sure to tell your dental care team that you are pregnant. If you have already shared your news, it’s still a good idea to remind them. You might also want to contact your obstetrician if possible prior to treatment.

Providing Attentive Oral Care During Pregnancy

We’re here to help ensure that your oral health contributes positively to your overall health during this very exciting time! Please contact our office at 970-279-5647 with any questions you have or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Steinbach or Dr. Van Gorden. You can also schedule online at elevatewillits.com.

We’ve proudly provided comprehensive dental care & natural dentistry to Basalt, Aspen, Carbondale, and surrounding Colorado areas for 25 years.