Keeping Teeth Healthy During Pregnancy
For expectant mothers, being pregnant is an exciting time. It is also a naturally worrisome time, and while it is important to look after their general health, it is equally as important for expectant mothers to maintain a good dental health regime and dentistry practitioners can be a good source of help and advice when it comes to keeping teeth healthy through pregnancy.
Sore, bleeding gums is a common complaint in pregnant women. Typically, bleeding gums is a sign of early-stage gingivitis, or gum-disease, but in pregnant woman, it can equally be a case of hormonal changes that are the root cause and pregnancy gingivitis can make gums more susceptible to the effects of plaque and bacteria.
Some pregnant mothers may develop small tumors in the mouth that bleed when brushing. These pregnancy tumors, or pyogenic granuloma, may appear scary, they are in fact benign and typically disappear once the baby has been born. Tumors that don’t disappear after the birth, or cause pain, or interfere with brushing, chewing or biting may require removal by a dentist.
Morning sickness is a hugely common occurrence in pregnant women; most pregnant women will experience morning sickness at some point during the early stages of their pregnancy. The vomiting caused by morning sickness can deposit stomach acid onto the teeth, which in turn can cause erosion of the tooth enamel, as well as lead to swelling of the mouth and throat, and can affect saliva glands – potentially leading to dry mouth. If you experience morning sickness, clean your teeth afterwards to remove unwanted acids. Do wait a short while after vomiting, however, as teeth will still be soft for a time afterwards.
Dental treatments such as fillings should be postponed until after the baby is born. In cases where x-rays are required for dental treatment, these too should be postponed. However, where there is cause to perform dental x-rays during the pregnancy term, a dentist will provide a protective cover to help protect the baby from any potentially harmful radiation.
Maintaining a good dental health regime can help to ensure the overall general health of both mother and baby. Regular brushing and flossing, and use of a good mouthwash can all help ensure that dental visits are just that, and that no remedial work is required. Remember, too, to tell your dentist that you are pregnant, as this knowledge can help your dentist make proper diagnosis and ensure you get the right treatment.