Although we are in the world of children’s teeth, lots of pregnant moms accompany their children in and out of our office. We often get questions concerning pregnancy and the dentist. Is there anything different I should do about my oral health once I realize I’m pregnant? Is it safe to continue using normal toothpaste? My gums feel a little puffier than usual, is that normal? What dental procedures are safe to have done while I’m pregnant? Those are all great and very important questions.
Let’s go through each question and discuss:
Is there anything different I should do about my oral health once I realize I’m pregnant?
There are a few important recommendations that everyone should follow, but especially pregnant women. First of all, as soon as you find out your pregnant or even if you think you are, let your dentist know at the beginning of your next appointment. Pregnant women face a lot of physical challenges, especially early on in their pregnancies. Morning sickness can cause changes in brushing habits and diet preferences. If you are eating more carbohydrates than usual or drinking beverages higher in sugars, that puts you at an increased risk for cavities. Tiredness, gum soreness, and nausea often prevent normal brushing from taking place. It is super important that you remain consistent with brushing and flossing even through these sicker months. Studies have shown a decrease in oral hygiene to be related to premature delivery, intrauterine growth restriction, gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia.
Is it safe to continue using normal toothpaste?
For most women, your usual toothbrush and toothpaste routine can be easily carried into pregnancy. Just make sure that you are not swallowing toothpaste or mouthwash and call your dentist with any specific questions or concerns.
My gums feel a little puffier than usual, is that normal?
Yes! The tissue in your mouth can easily be affected by your changing hormone levels. Some women’s gum tissue becomes very sensitive and may react to foods, plaque, and even toothpastes they would have otherwise not be affected by. This condition, called “pregnancy gingivitis,” can cause sensitivity, bleeding, and swelling. Talk to your dentist if you notice this change if your gum tissue. They may recommend coming in for more regular cleanings or suggest a change to your home care in order to reduce the symptoms.
Every once in a while, a pregnant woman will notice a larger growth in the gum tissue. These are often called “pregnancy tumors” or “pyogenic granulomas.” These tissue overgrowths are benign and are usually directly related to excess intraoral plaque or debris. These growths bleed, have a red/bluish tint, but often resolve after pregnancy. If you have any concerns about the health of your tissue or you have a pregnancy tumor that did not resolve post-partum, give your dentist a call to check it out.
What dental procedures are safe to have done while I’m pregnant?
All prophylactic dental procedures are not only safe, but recommended for women during pregnancy. As we mentioned before, prevention during pregnancy is key! New studies show that radiographs are permitted due to the low levels of radiation emitted from digital machines and the excellent levels of protection offered by new generations of lead aprons. If pregnant patients are in pain, most dentists will also recommend completing treatment during the second trimester as well.
Congrats on the new baby and remember to keep those teeth clean!