When the news comes that you are expecting a child, a lot goes through your head. How will you decorate the baby’s room? Will you get morning sickness? What name will you choose? One thing that, understandably, does not jump to the forefront of most expecting mothers during pregnancy is the question of how your oral health should be handled.
Oral health is definitely something expecting mothers want to think about during pregnancy. It’s important that you continue to see your dentist on a regular basis and be sure to tell them about your pregnancy as well as any changes in your mouth that you may have noticed since you found out.
It’s also important that your dentist is aware of any medications you’ve been prescribed by your doctor – or any over-the-counter supplements and/or vitamins you’re using on a regular basis.
Common Oral Health Issues When Pregnant
As part of pregnancy, it’s common for women to develop gingivitis (infection of the gums) that can cause your gums to swell and feel tender at times. Bleeding during brushing and flossing is also common. To help keep your teeth healthy, your dentist my suggest you floss and brush on a more regular basis as well as more frequent cleanings to prevent gingivitis.
Another common thing dentists see are lumps along the gumline. Unfortunately, they’ve come to be known as “pregnancy tumors,” but rest assured they are not cancerous. They are harmless swellings that take on a red and raw appearance. After the pregnancy, they typically go away on their own, and they can be removed by your dentist with the use of a local anesthetic if they become bothersome.
Tips for Oral Care During Pregnancy
Before Your Pregnancy
If you’re planning on being pregnant, try and make an appointment to see your dentist before. That way you can get your teeth cleaned and have your gums examined and have any problems addressed without worry.
Dental X-rays During Pregnancy
If you’re pregnant, your dentist may avoid dental X-rays until after the pregnancy. If, for some reason dental X-rays are necessary (in an emergency) dentists can protect you and your baby to ensure safety. This is another good reason to see your dentist before you become pregnant if you are planning your pregnancy.
Dealing With Morning Sickness
If the effects of morning sickness are keeping you from brushing your teeth, we suggest switching to a bland-flavoured toothpaste during you’re pregnancy. We’re happy to recommend some brands to you that can help. It’s also advisable to rinse your mouth with clean water if you find yourself vomiting on a regular basis.
Proper Food Choices for Your Teeth and Baby
You probably guessed that our advice here is to avoid sugary snacks while you’re pregnant. And, while we understand that cravings are cravings, and it’s common to crave sweets, there are healthy (yet fulfilling) ways to get your sweet fix. Obviously a healthy, well-rounded diet is the goal – and everything you can do to eat right will help both you and your baby.
After Your Baby Arrives
If you had any problems with your teeth during pregnancy, be sure to see your dentist soon after delivery for an evaluation to ensure any issues have subsided – it’s also a great idea to get a cleaning for all those new baby pictures that people will be taking of you and your new bundle(s) of joy.
The Bottom Line About Pregnancy and Oral Health
Please don’t skip dental checkup appointments because you’re pregnant. When you’re expecting, dental care takes on even greater importance as you’re at increased risk for periodontal disease and other ailments. Follow good hygiene and, if something comes up, you know where to find us. Call and make an appointment and we’ll be happy to help.