Pregnancy and Dental Care

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Several of our patients are new moms to be and have questions regarding their dental care during this transitional time. If you are planning on starting a family, make sure your dental treatment needs are in good order beforehand. It is best to avoid x-rays or medications especially during the first trimester, so your dentist may delay any treatment or diagnostic x-rays until later in the pregnancy. However, the medications used for common procedures such as fillings, cleanings, and root canals are safe to you and your unborn child.

What common dental problems occur during pregnancy and how can they be prevented?

One of the most frequent dental problems in pregnant women is gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), which affects 50%-70% of all pregnant women. Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that can impact dental health. In particular, increased levels of progesterone may make it easier for certain gingivitis-causing bacteria to grow as well as make gum tissue more sensitive to plaque.

Hormonal changes can also cause pregnancy tumors, which appear as red or purple bumps usually near the gum line. But don’t let the name scare you – they are benign and usually disappear once the baby is born.

Cavities also seem to appear more frequently in pregnant women due to the acidity from first trimester nausea or the increased sugar intake for those with sweet cravings.

But with good oral hygiene, many dental problems in pregnancy can be avoided. Regular dental cleanings, brushing twice a day, and flossing daily can all help to prevent these issues. I encourage all my pregnant patients to be especially diligent about their dental care during this time.

Want to learn more? Read our 4 Dental Do’s for Expectant Mothers.

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