There are quite a lot of health concerns to think about during a pregnancy, and it’s not surprising to find that dental health isn’t at the top of the list for many expecting mothers. However, more and more research is suggesting that a key link between infant health is that of the mother’s overall health, including her dental health. Surprisingly, it may even be possible for bacteria resulting from tooth decay and gum disease to pass through the placenta to the developing fetus. Because of this, it is vitally important that expecting mothers keep up with their oral health regimen through the entirety of pregnancy and continue to visit their dentist when needed. Let’s learn more about dental health during pregnancy.
It is important to address any serious oral health matters before a pregnancy term begins. For those planning a pregnancy beforehand, a dental checkup is absolutely recommended. If a pregnancy is unexpected, it is best to schedule a checkup as soon as possible once the pregnancy has been confirmed. The main reason for this is to perform a thorough cleaning and inspect the gums for any signs of gingivitis or gum disease. Investigating this ahead of a pregnancy is preferred, and it is routine for any dental office.
A pre-pregnancy checkup also allows your dentist to diagnose any serious issues that may become worse throughout the upcoming nine month term. You certainly don’t want to deal with a toothache the same time nausea symptoms occur. An early visit to the dentist also allows the patient to discuss any dental issues that may arise during pregnancy and answer any questions beforehand.
First and foremost, it is key to inform both your obstetrician that you are seeing your dentist and your dentist that you are pregnant. Ideally you’ve already had a chance to catch up on any needed dental work and cleaning before the pregnancy was determined. If not, cleaning and most emergency procedures can be performed while you are pregnant. However any cosmetic procedures or elective dental work should be put off until the completion of the pregnancy. If you’re unsure what is necessary now and what can wait, ask your dentist. At this time, you should list out all medications and supplements you’re taking and share it with your dentist. This will help avoid any complications during treatment.
As we mentioned earlier, it is important to ensure expecting mothers have addressed any symptoms of gum disease before pregnancy. The increase in certain hormones during pregnancy can actually have a negative effect on a mother’s gums as well. It is not uncommon to see expecting mother’s gums become especially inflamed and bleed during pregnancy. If an expecting mother experiencing symptoms of bleeding gums, they should contact their dentist right away. Certain extra growths of gum tissue also occur in expecting mothers, especially later in pregnancy. These, although generally harmless, can cause bleeding in the mouth as well. If these growths occur, be sure to let your dentist know.
While we’ve shown it is vitally important to investigate all concerns of gum disease before a pregnancy begins, there is also much a mother can do during the pregnancy to ensure proper oral health. The biggest recommendation is also the easiest - continue with their normal dental care routine. Brushing and flossing is just as important now as before, but admittedly, it can be more difficult to adhere to. Bouts of nausea or morning sickness need to be followed up with brushing as soon as possible, difficult though it may be. As for those unexpected cravings, it’s wise to limit sugar intake when possible and brush and floss 30 minutes after intake. Doing all you can to keep on a normal oral health routine will ensure your teeth remain healthy throughout and after the pregnancy.
After the baby is born and the mother has recovered, it’s a good idea to schedule a checkup with your dentist. This visit is a good chance to verify that the mother’s teeth are still healthy and address any issues from the pregnancy. Believe it or not, soon after your child’s birth is the best time to take them to their first dental checkup. You’ll need to select a family dentistry capable of treating patients of all ages. Grace & Leedy is happy to help both expecting mothers and their newborns with all their dental care needs. Contact us today to learn more.