I'm Pregnant! What Does This Mean for My Oral Health?

If you are experiencing your very first pregnancy, your body will be going through many changes that you may not be aware of. One area that is often ignored is oral health. While it's always important to practice good oral hygiene every single day, there are some additional things to be aware of during a pregnancy that normally don't affect you. Here are some things to do and not do during your pregnancy.

Do: Watch out for Sore Gums

The hormones from pregnancy will have a weird effect on your gums, and potentially make them more sensitive. You will notice that your gums may become more sore and tender over the course of the pregnancy, and can even bleed when brushing your teeth.

You should visit a dentist if your gums frequently bleed and are very sore. You have a higher chance of getting gum disease while pregnant, which can impact the birth weight of your child or cause a premature delivery.

Do: Tell Your Dentist That You're Pregnant

If you go to the dentist once every 6 months, at least one of your appointments will occur while you're pregnant. Be sure to tell your dentist you're pregnant. You will need to skip taking any dental X-rays to avoid radiation exposure.

Don't: Undergo Any Cosmetic Procedure

You may want to have teeth whitening done or fix a dental implant, but it is not a wise time to have cosmetic procedures while pregnant. These procedures can put your baby and yourself at unnecessary risk.

Any procedure that requires anesthesia or antibiotics should be avoided during pregnancy because of the harm it can cause to the baby. Even if you do not need anesthesia, the stress of having a dental procedure done can have an impact on the baby. It can affect their brain development, and potentially lead to behavioral problems later in life.

Don't: Avoid Emergency Dental Procedures

If you must get dental work done because of an emergency, you should certainly do so. This includes things like bleeding gums, tooth pain, or a broken tooth. It can lead to an infection that can spread throughout your body.

For dental procedures that must be done, have them performed during your second trimester. The first and third trimester are a time when a lot of development is happening to the fetus, and put your baby more at risk.

Now that you're aware of some things you should and should not do regarding your oral health, you will be sure to make good decisions for you and your baby. Be sure to talk to your dental hygienist in your area before each visit.