Taking care of your teeth and gums is very important when you are pregnant. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can increase your risk of developing periodontal (gum and bone) disease. Poor oral health may also affect the health of your developing baby. Keeping your teeth and mouth healthy can decrease your risk of having a pre-term delivery or a low birth-weight baby.
Common Oral Health Concerns of Pregnant Women
Most women notice changes in their gums during pregnancy. Some women notice that their gums look redder and bleed when they brush their teeth. And some women have severe swelling and bleeding.
All of these changes are referred to as “pregnancy gingivitis.” They can start as early as the second month. The condition tends to peak around the eighth month. It often disappears after the baby is born.
A pregnancy granuloma is a growth on the gums that occurs in 2% to 10% of pregnant women. It is also known as a pyogenic granuloma or pregnancy tumour. They are red nodules found near the upper gum line, but can also be found elsewhere in the mouth. Pregnancy tumours are misnamed. They are not actually tumours and are not cancerous. They are not even dangerous, although they can cause discomfort. Pregnancy granulomas usually develop in the second trimester but will disappear after your baby is born.
In women with severe morning sickness, frequent vomiting can erode the enamel on the back of the front teeth.
Many pregnant women complain of dry mouth. You can combat dry mouth by drinking plenty of water and by using sugarless hard candies or gum to stimulate saliva secretion and keep your mouth moist.
Common Questions About Oral Health
Is it safe to visit the dentist while I’m pregnant?
- The best approach to dental care is to see your dentist before you get pregnant for an exam and cleaning. During your pregnancy, the second trimester is the best time to receive routine dental care. If possible, avoid significant procedures, reconstruction and surgery until after the baby is born.
What should I do about emergency dental treatment while pregnant?
- You should receive treatment if it is necessary to ease your pain, prevent infection or decrease stress on you and your fetus.
Is it safe to get dental x-rays while I’m pregnant?
- New technology has made dental x-rays much safer. Digital x-rays use much less radiation than older systems that use dental film. Studies have shown that using a lead apron will protect you and your fetus from radiation. X-rays usually are taken in the first trimester only if they are needed for diagnosis or treatment that cannot wait until after the baby is born.
Can I take dental medications while pregnant?
- You should not take any medicines during pregnancy, especially during your first trimester. However, most common dental medicines can be used during pregnancy. Sedatives and certain antibiotics should be avoided, though.
Pregnancy means significant changes in your body and your lifestyle; remember that it’s just as important to take care of your teeth and gums as it is the rest of you. Contact us to learn more.
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