During pregnancy women tend to put off getting their teeth cleaned or having any dental work done. Some think it will negatively affect the baby; however that is far from the truth. During pregnancy women are at higher risk for dental problems, including gum disease. Since hormones change throughout pregnancy this can cause swelling of the gums which can lead to infection or gum disease, including gingivitis. In extreme cases, gingivitis can lead to tooth loss. Morning sickness is also hard on a pregnant woman’s teeth. Acid from the stomach can eat away at the tooth enamel.
Poor dental habits have been associated with pre-mature labor, intrauterine growth restriction, gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day should remain part of your normal hygiene routine, it is easy for it to be put on the back burner due to morning sickness, nausea, sensitive gag reflex, tender gums and exhaustion. Poor oral health during pregnancy can also lead to an increased risk for cavities for babies.
To help protect teeth, add a teaspoon of baking soda to a glass of water and rinse with this mixture or a non-alcoholic mouth rinse. If the taste of toothpaste makes morning sickness worse, use bland-tasting toothpaste.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important for many reasons including protecting your teeth. Increased consumption of carbohydrates can cause women to be at higher risk of cavities. Your baby will begin to develop teeth about 3 months into your pregnancy. Diets containing dairy products, cheese, and yogurt are good sources of essential minerals for your baby’s developing teeth, gums and bones.
So can you have dental x-rays during pregnancy? YES you can! The radiation from digital dental xrays is extremely low, your dentist office will cover you will a lead apron that minimizes this exposure even more.
Is dental treatment safe during pregnancy YES it is! A study done by the Journal of American Dental Association determined that treatment using a local anesthetics like lidocaine shots shows treatment was safe and caused no difference in the risk of miscarriages, birth defects, prematurity or weight of the baby.
Of course your dentist is concerned about you and your baby so ask any questions you have about treatment, medications or other recommendations provided.
Is It Safe To Go To the Dentist During Pregnancy? (n.d.). Retrieved January 8, 2019, from https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/pregnancy/concerns
Dental Care During Pregnancy. (n.d.). Retrieved January 8, 2019, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/15804-dental-care-during-pregnancy
Pregnancy outcome after in utero exposure to local anesthetics as part of dental treatment
Hagai, Aharon et al.
The Journal of the American Dental Association , Volume 146 , Issue 8 , 572 – 580
More on local anesthetics in pregnancy
Best, Al M.
The Journal of the American Dental Association , Volume 146 , Issue 12 , 868 – 869
Local anesthetics in pregnancy
Dower, James S.
The Journal of the American Dental Association , Volume 146 , Issue 12 , 867 – 868