Are you expecting a baby or planning for one?
There are many myths surrounding pregnancy and oral health, which could have you feeling confused. In this time when your health is paramount, we’re here to help you understand how you can make yours and your growing baby’s oral health a priority.
Telling your dentist about your pregnancy
You don’t need to tell your dentist that you’re pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant. It’s none of their business anyway – and what does it matter?
It is important for us to know if you are trying to become pregnant or are pregnant, how far along you are and if you have a high-risk pregnancy etc. Don’t worry, we will keep this information confidential.
Trying to become pregnant or being pregnant can impact the treatment we deliver as well as enable us to assess your oral health in an appropriate way. The dentist and hygienist will be able to inform you of any changes to expect in your oral health and make sure your oral health is optimal. We can also inform you of any risks including the need to limit certain dental treatments whilst you are pregnant.
Pregnancy, safety, and your dentist
It’s not safe to visit the dentist during pregnancy or I don’t need to visit the dentist if I’m pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant.
It’s actually safe to visit your dentist during pregnancy and it’s even advised to have a dental check up and clean when you’re planning on getting pregnant. This is a time when dental care and prevention is even more important, and in some cases more regular appointments are necessary. Just like the rest of your body, your teeth, gums and mouth are affected by hormonal changes during pregnancy.
The effect these hormonal changes have on your oral health during pregnancy means your dentist should join your GP and your obstetrician on your list of health professionals whom you consult regularly. Making routine visits to your dentist in the lead-up, during, and after your pregnancy is a priority and we are here to help you.
The link between your mouth & body
Being pregnant doesn’t affect my mouth.
Pregnant women are at a greater risk for certain oral health conditions due to hormonal changes.
These conditions include:
- Gum disease, also known as pregnancy gingivitis. Untreated gum disease may be linked to preterm and low-weight birth.
- Pregnancy tumors – referred to as pyogenic granulomas. These are red lumpy lesions that can bleed easily and may require more cleaning and treatment.
Both conditions are treatable and sometimes even preventable. Some other ways that pregnancy can affect your oral health includes:
- Food cravings often include sugary and acidic foods. These can lead to an increase in tooth erosion and decay. So try to limit your snacking or reach for fresh fruit, vegetables, and plain or Greek yoghurt. Sip on water throughout the day and we can discuss other options at your appointment.
- Dry mouth is known as xerostomia – this can lead to an increase in plaque formation, gum inflammation, and tooth decay. Please let us know if you are experiencing this so we can help you manage this condition.
- Morning sickness can cause vomiting and make it hard to brush your teeth. It’s best to avoid brushing immediately after vomiting so as not to brush away the enamel on your teeth. Some things that can help include:
- Rinsing with some warm water immediately
- Chewing sugar-free gum
- Rinsing with a non-alcoholic mouthwash
- Pregnancy diabetes: this can increase your risk of gum disease. If you suffer from this condition please let us know at your dental appointment as we can help you manage this problem.
Pregnancy & tooth loss
You can lose a tooth for each pregnancy you have.
You may have heard this – or something along these lines – but this is simply not true. This myth likely originated because pregnant women face a higher risk of tooth decay due to morning sickness, food cravings and a dry mouth. We will let you know if we spot anything of concern at your appointment.
Does calcium affect the baby?
The calcium from your teeth can be leached out during your pregnancy.
Calcium is particularly important in your diet while you are pregnant and breastfeeding. It helps build the teeth and bones of the developing child. Your fetus receives this calcium from your diet and, although your body and mouth can change during pregnancy, the fetus does not take calcium from the mother’s teeth.
Dental X-rays during pregnancy
You shouldn’t have dental X-rays whilst pregnant.
Dental X-rays are considered safe during pregnancy and can be essential in detecting serious problems, such as hidden decay, bone loss and an inflamed tooth nerve. Although we do not routinely take dental X-rays if you are pregnant unless you are in pain, we will evaluate your case and if there is a need to take them, we will make sure your baby is protected.
Fillings & anaesthetics
You can’t have a dental filling or dental anaesthetic whilst pregnant.
Leaving dental decay in your mouth can actually affect your pregnancy, as well as your oral health. Left untreated, decay can cause infection and pain, and is best treated before the birth of your baby. Dental anesthetic during the first trimester of pregnancy is usually best avoided, but if you do need to have dental anaesthetic whilst pregnant we will most likely wait until the second trimester and will only use anesthetic that is safe during pregnancy.
Why your oral health matters
My oral health has nothing to do with the baby’s health/teeth.
Most things in your mouth are preventable – including tooth decay and gum disease. In turn, these things can be prevented in your baby as their teeth start to grow. Babies are born with decay causing bacteria in their mouths; it is all passed from the caregivers’ mouths. If you have moderate to severe gum disease, you may be at higher risk for delivering a preterm, low-birth weight baby.
Book an appointment
It’s so important to keep your oral health in the best possible condition by seeing your dentist and hygienist regularly, and treating any oral health conditions. Although this is a big responsibility we are here to help you keep yours and your baby’s oral health in tip-top condition.
If you’re currently pregnant, or you’re thinking of becoming pregnant, make an appointment and come and see us. Call our clinic on (03) 9804 7710.