Dental Care Do's and Don'ts During Pregnancy
There is a myth that pregnant women should postpone going to the dentist; the truth is that not going to the dentist during your pregnancy can be harmful to your health. Hormones surge during pregnancy, creating a lot of challenging changes in your entire body—and that includes your mouth! These hormone changes can affect your gums and teeth. Just remember these rules of what to do during pregnancy:
Tell your dentist.
Tell your dentist if you are pregnant. Dental work often includes X-rays, something you probably want to put off until later unless they are necessary. If you do have X-rays, ask about extra protection. Also, tell your dentist about any problems you are having or medications you are taking. The information you share may affect your care.
Keep your routine appointments.
Even if your teeth are in perfect condition, the baby you are carrying takes a lot of your resources, and fluctuating hormones can wreak havoc on gums and make you more prone to cavities. Prevention is safer than treating after problems occur.
Postpone unnecessary procedures.
If you have a dental problem, address the issue as soon as possible but wait until your second trimester, if possible, for treatment. Medical procedures put unnecessary strain and risk on you and your baby. Call your dentist right away if you have swollen gums or a toothache. Infections from abscessed teeth and gums can spread to the bloodstream.
You can have local anesthesia if you need it.
Having local anesthesia for a dental procedure like a root canal or extraction during pregnancy is safe for you and your baby. The amount of anesthesia should, of course, be as little as possible. If possible, talk it over with your OBGYN or dentist beforehand.
Treat cavities. Don’t postpone care until you are pregnant, but take care of cavities that occur during pregnancy. Not doing so increases the risk of infection or broken teeth.
Root planing and scaling is a procedure that is done to remove tartar and plaque from the surface of the teeth. It can be done with an electric scaler or manually by a dental hygienist. Both procedures are entirely safe for pregnant women.
If you have a dental procedure, your dentist may give you an antibiotic to prevent infection. Penicillin, amoxicillin, and clindamycin are considered safe during pregnancy.
Dentists recommend that women thoroughly brush their teeth with a fluoride toothpaste, eat a healthy diet, and floss every day while they are pregnant. After your baby is born, see your dentist to take care of any unresolved dental problems.