If you’re pregnant or are planning a family, you know that pregnancy definitely definitely causes significant changes in your body, but did you know that pregnancy can put you at a higher risk of tooth decay and gingivitis? To help you keep your teeth healthy and also make the right choices for a healthy pregnancy, our family dentist in Cary is sharing some important dental care tips for expectant moms.
How Can Pregnancy Affect Dental Health?
Many pregnant women struggle with cavities during pregnancy, even if they continue to brush and floss the same as they did pre-pregnancy. Hormone changes in your body can increase the acidity of your saliva which can actually cause cavities and tooth decay. This problem is made worse for women who struggle with pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting (morning sickness) as that can wear away tooth enamel, also.
Other women develop “pregnancy gingivitis,” a temporary condition caused by an increased inflammatory response. The gums may feel swollen and tender and may be more likely to bleed when brushing or flossing. While it is not uncommon, it’s still important to discuss this with your dentist because it can continue past pregnancy into more serious forms of gum disease.
Protecting Your Teeth Before You Get Pregnant
If you are planning a family, we know you want to be as healthy as possible. As part of that, make sure you schedule a dental checkup and teeth cleaning as soon as possible. By doing this, you can make sure your teeth and gums are as healthy as possible and any concerns are addressed and corrected before you are pregnant. This is especially important if there is decay because you don’t want it to worsen, nor do you want any added risk of infection.
Maintaining Healthy Teeth During Your Pregnancy
While you are pregnant, it’s important to maintain your healthy dental habits, including brushing twice a day, flossing at least once, and rinsing with water after eating or drinking a sugary beverage. This will minimize or prevent any damage caused by pregnancy-related dental health concerns. If nausea or a more sensitive gag reflex makes it difficult to brush, switching to a smaller toothbrush and a more mild flavor of toothpaste can be helpful.
Dental Checkups While Pregnant
It’s also important to continue getting professional checkups as needed. Not only will your dentist be able to look for issues like pregnancy-related gingivitis and spot cavities before they are problematic, but also because there’s no medical reason to defer common dental treatments, like cleanings, until after pregnancy. That being said, it’s generally recommended to schedule any appointments after the first trimester, unless it’s a dental emergency like pain or swelling, and postpone elective procedures like cosmetic dentistry, until after delivery.
One question we are asked at our dental office in Cary and at our Holly Springs location is whether or not dental x-rays are safe for pregnant women. Innovations in digital radiography have made dental x-rays very safe with little to no risk to your growing baby. Your office can also provide a cover to put over your belly to protect against any exposure.
Talk to Your Dentist if You Are Pregnant
If you do have an appointment scheduled, or you need emergency dental care, make sure you let your dentist know you’re pregnant or that you think you might be, if you’re not sure. They will work with you to make sure you are getting the care you need while also making sure you have a safe pregnancy. If you’re on any medication, including prenatal vitamins, be sure to let your dentist office know, too. The more your dentist knows, the better care you’ll receive!
Keep Your Teeth Healthy While You’re Pregnant!
At Sninski & Schmitt Family Dentistry, we are committed to all of our patients’ dental needs. If you are expecting a baby, we want to do everything we can to help you keep your teeth healthy while protecting your pregnancy. To schedule an appointment, call one of our offices and we will help you find the best time to come in for a check-up. You can reach us at our Holly Springs dentist office at (919)-600-6262 and our Cary dentist office at (919) 467-2203. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.