Dental health is the health of your gums and teeth. It’s an important part of your overall health. Some studies show a link between periodontitis (a gum disease) and premature birth and low birthweight. Taking good care of your gums and teeth during pregnancy can help you and your baby be healthy.
How does the pregnancy affect your dental health?
Pregnancy changes in your body can affect your gums and teeth. During pregnancy, you have more blood flowing through your body, more acid in your mouth and rising hormone levels. Hormones are chemicals made by the body.
These changes mean that you’re more likely to have some dental health problems during pregnancy than you did before you got pregnant. These problems include:
Gingivitis: This is when you have red, swollen or sore gums. Your gums may bleed when you brush your teeth. High levels of the hormone progesterone can lead to gingivitis during pregnancy. Without treatment, gingivitis can become a serious gum disease called periodontitis.
Loose teeth. High levels of the hormones progesterone and estrogen during pregnancy can affect the tissues and bones that keep your teeth in place.This can make your teeth loose.
Pregnancy tumors. These tumors are not cancer. They are lumps that form on swollen gums, usually in between teeth. This can cause bleeding. The tumors may be caused by having too much plaque (sticky bacteria that forms on teeth). Pregnancy tumors usually go away on their own. But you may need to have them removed by surgery sometime after you give birth.
Tooth decay. This is when acids in your mouth break down a tooth’s enamel. Because you have more acid in your mouth than usual during pregnancy, you’re more likely to have tooth decay. If you have morning sickness and throw up often, you have even more acid in your mouth.
What are signs and symptoms of dental health problems during pregnancy?
Signs and symptoms include:
How are dental health problems diagnosed during pregnancy?
You may notice a problem with your teeth or gums, or it may found one during a regular dental checkup.
Get regular dental checkups before and during pregnancy. If you haven’t been then come for checkup early in pregnancy. At your checkup, please inform that you’re pregnant and about any prescription or over-the-counter medicines you take. Dental checkups during pregnancy are important so that we can find and treat dental problems. Regular teeth cleanings also help prevent tooth decay. If you have any problems, your dentist can recommend treatment during pregnancy or after you give birth.
If you have a dental problem, we may take an X-ray. Dental X-rays use very small amounts of radiation. And we will take xray only if its very much necessary and we will make sure that you are protected with lead apron, this helps to keep your body and your baby safe.
How are dental health problems treated during pregnancy?
The kind of dental treatment you get depends on the problem that you have, and how far long you are in your pregnancy.
You may just need a really good teeth cleaning. Or you may need surgery in your mouth. We can safely treat many problems during pregnancy or may tell you it’s better to wait until after birth for some treatments.
We may avoid treating some problems in the first trimester of pregnancy because this is an important time in your baby’s growth and development. Generally second trimester is best time to do any dental treatment you may require like teeth cleaning, fillings, root canal treatment etc.
How can you help prevent dental health problems?
Here’s how you can help keep your teeth and gums healthy:
Visit your dentist for a regular dental checkup every 6 months, even during pregnancy. Eat healthy foods. They give you and your growing baby important nutrients.
Your baby’s teeth start developing between 3 and 6 months of pregnancy. Nutrients, like calcium, protein and vitamins A, C and D, help your baby’s teeth grow healthy.