Multiple studies have been conducted both in Australia and overseas determining that your dental health can directly affect the overall health of your body. Cardiovascular disease and diabetes are well published for such links. Therefore, putting off dental treatments that help maintain your oral health at any time can have bigger impacts than you may realise. During pregnancy, severe periodontitis (infection of the gums) has been linked to premature birth and low birth weights.
It is important to have a dental check-up before trying to become pregnant and then maintain those visits through your pregnancy. Many pregnant women, though, are hesitant to visit the dentist during pregnancy and are uncertain as to whether it is safe. Thankfully, however, a visit to the dentist is highly unlikely to cause any neonatal issues and, in fact, many dentists recommend maintaining your scheduled visits throughout your pregnancy to ensure you are in optimal health.
Can I Go to the Dentist While Pregnant?
If you are pregnant, you absolutely can visit the dentist. It is especially important to receive dental treatment during pregnancy since hormonal changes can directly affect your oral health.
What Are the Common Dental Problems During Pregnancy?
With the pressures that pregnancy places on your body, some women may experience dental problems, such as gum disease and tooth decay. This is largely a result of the increased hormones and is one of the reasons why you should keep up with your regular dentist visits during this time.
During pregnancy, pregnant women tend to crave sugary foods, which makes them more prone to tooth decay.
Expectant mothers who suffer morning sickness may also experience tooth erosion or wear since the increased stomach acids can wear away tooth enamel. It’s important not to brush directly after vomiting, rather rinse your mouth with tap water and wait half an hour then brush. This lets your teeth remineralise after the acid attack before you brush.
During pregnancy, women’s progesterone levels increase, resulting in pregnancy gingivitis. This leads to your gums being more sensitive to the plaque on your teeth. The most common symptoms of gingivitis are swollen, tender gums, bad breath and bleeding gums. Good oral hygiene as well as review and treatment from your dentist can help reduce these symptoms.
Gum (Periodontal) Disease
Chronic gingivitis can progress to periodontal disease; a severe gum infection that can damage the bones supporting the teeth. This can lead to teeth becoming loose over time and even needing removal as the bone is lost around the tooth. Severe periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weights and so it is important to maintain your gum health throughout pregnancy.
Can You Get Dental Fillings While Pregnant?
Yes, you can absolutely receive dental fillings while pregnant. Like all dental procedures, the process is usually painless under local anaesthetic which your dentist can administer. You might prefer to schedule these procedures during your second or early third trimester, however, when morning sickness or nausea may have settled down.
If you require a dental filling, you should book in immediately, even during pregnancy. Let your dentist know you are pregnant and they can treat the affected tooth safely.
How Do I Maintain a Healthy Mouth While Pregnant?
The importance of oral health and regular dental cleanings is incredibly important for expecting mothers. Here are some excellent ways to achieve healthy teeth during pregnancy.
Good Oral Hygiene
Brushing and flossing twice a day can help you maintain good oral health. This practice effectively removes plaque and keeps your teeth and gums healthy. Make sure you use a soft toothbrush that is gentle on your more sensitive gums. Never use a hard-bristled toothbrush as it can damage your gums.
A balanced diet is best, full of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy products, and protein. These are all important components of a pregnant woman’s healthy diet. Watch out for sugary snacks as frequent snacking on sugary treats will increase your risk of tooth decay.
Regular Dental Check-Ups
The Australian Dental Association recommends frequent dental checkups during your pregnancy so that your dentist can stay on top of your oral health and pick up any issues early on. Prevention is key when it comes to dental health and your dentist will be able to work with you to ensure that any small changes in teeth are identified and treated quickly.
Summary — How Can We Help?
Because of the connection between dental health and overall body health, dental treatment is essential for pregnant women. In addition to negatively affecting the expectant mother, poor dental health can affect the baby as well.
If you are experiencing bleeding gums or noticing tooth decay, we recommend visiting your dentist as soon as possible, even during pregnancy. Pregnancy can take its toll on your body. However, your teeth and overall oral health should not suffer as a result. The team at Beaches Dental Mona Vale can organise a consultation with one of our experienced dental practitioners.