When you’re pregnant, dental care is an important part of caring for yourself and your baby. Pregnancy can affect your oral health, which can impact your overall well-being. While it’s understandable to have concerns about the safety of certain dental procedures or medications during this time, don’t skip seeing your dentist.
Dental Visits During Pregnancy
Having routine cleanings and exams done during pregnancy is safe for you and your baby. These exams give your dentist a chance to look for signs of potential dental issues associated with pregnancy, such as an increased risk of gingivitis and tooth decay. Having cleanings performed helps lower these risks.
If you’re due for an exam while you’re pregnant, make sure you let your dentist know about your pregnancy. While routine cleanings and exams are safe, your dentist might suggest postponing certain types of dental procedures until after your baby is born. Root canals, fillings and tooth extractions are all considered safe for pregnant women, according to the American Dental Association, but other types of procedures might be risky.
Keep in mind that anesthetics used during fillings and other basic procedures are also safe during pregnancy. Dental X-rays are also safe, although patients are exposed to low radiation levels when these are done. Your dentist can have you wear a lead apron to cover your abdomen if you need any X-rays.
Dental Issues Associated with Pregnancy
Being pregnant can affect your oral health in a few ways. As mentioned before, pregnant women have a higher risk of developing gum inflammation known as gingivitis. You might also have a higher risk of tooth decay due to the following:
- Morning sickness, which exposes tooth enamel to higher amounts of acid
- More frequent snacking on carbs or sweet, sugary foods
- Not brushing and flossing enough to remove traces of food, which leads to a higher amount of plaque buildup
During pregnancy, you might also have growths known as pregnancy tumors. These can develop if you don’t brush and floss enough, although they should go away after pregnancy.
Breastfeeding and Oral Health
Breastfeeding provides your baby with a couple of important oral health benefits. According to the American Dental Association, it can lower your baby’s risk of having bite tooth and jaw alignment problems, such as an overbite or underbite. Breastfeeding also reduces your baby’s risk of developing baby bottle tooth decay. This condition can occur when you put your baby to bed with a bottle filled with fruit juice, milk or other sugary liquids.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to stop breastfeeding when your child’s baby teeth come in. You can continue to breastfeed until you’re comfortable stopping. It’s also important to remember to clean your baby’s gums after breastfeeding. Breast milk contains sugar, which can increase your baby’s risk of tooth decay.
Remember that oral health is important for baby teeth, too. When your child’s baby teeth come in, Wright Smiles Pediatric Dentistry can help ensure good oral health. Bring your child in for an initial exam to have his or her baby teeth checked and cleaned.