Pregnancy and Dental Health
For those looking to start a family,the impact of pregnancy on an expectant mother’s oral health as well as her overall health and the health of her baby are all too often neglected. With misconceptions and misinformation about dental health during pregnancy, it can be very challenging for expectant mothers to filter the facts from fiction. While it is strongly recommended that anyone who is pregnant or may become pregnant consult their dentist, here are a few important facts to help expectant mothers maintain good oral health during pregnancy.
Prenatal dentist appointment
Scheduling a prenatal appointment with your dentist before pregnancy (if possible) is one of the best ways to help maintain good oral health over the course of your pregnancy. During this appointment, your dentist can professionally clean your teeth, thoroughly examine your gums and teeth, conduct X-rays and treat any oral health issue prior to your pregnancy.
Although expectant mothers are able to receive routine dental care during the second trimester of their pregnancy, dentists advise expectant mothers against undergoing any major dental treatments during the course of their pregnancy. Dental treatment during the first trimester and the last half of the third trimester are also discouraged, as these are critical times in the baby’s growth and development. Dental procedures performed during these critical stages of pregnancy could potentially have adverse effects on the baby’s growth and development.
During pregnancy a woman’s body is exposed to a flood of hormones designed to aid in the baby’s growth and development as well as helping the mother adapt to the demands of the baby on her body. One of the side effects of these hormones is an increase in the acidity in the mouth. This additional acidity significantly increases an expectant mother’s risk of tooth decay. This tooth decay is often accelerated by the vomiting associated with morning sickness, which exposes teeth to additional gastric acid. Dentists recommend regular brushing with a soft bristled toothbrush, regular flossing and rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash to help prevent tooth decay. In addition, rinsing with a solution of one cup water and one teaspoon of baking soda after vomiting will help neutralize the gastric acid left in your mouth.
Along with an increased risk of tooth decay, pregnant women are much more susceptible to loose teeth and gum disease. Increased levels of progesterone and estrogen can affect the ligaments and bones that support the teeth, causing teeth to loosen during pregnancy, even if gum disease is not present.These hormonal changes during pregnancy can also increase chances of an expectant mother developing gingivitis. This inflammation of the superficial gum tissue, if left untreated can develop into more a severe form of gum disease known as Periodontitis. Severe gum disease in pregnant women has also been linked with preterm births and low birth weights in some cases.
This article is written by Landon Blatter for Denver dentistry from Rocky Mountain Dental Partners. Their team at Rocky Mountain Dental Partners believes a great smile is priceless and everyone deserves the look and feel that great smile can bring. With locations in Aurora, Centennial and Cherry Creek, Rocky Mountain Dental Partners are available to answer your questions regarding endodontic treatment and help you achieve the smile you have always wanted.