Pregnancy and Oral Health
Maryville and Knoxville, TN
Pregnancy is very special time. You’ll want to think about taking good care of yourself and getting your baby’s life off to a healthy start. Your oral health is an important part of your overall health, and good oral health habits not only help prevent oral problems during pregnancy, they also affect the health of your unborn child.
What if I'm pregnant and need a dental radiograph examination?
A radiograph may be needed for dental treatment or a dental emergency that can’t wait until after the baby is born. Untreated dental infections can pose a risk to the fetus, and dental treatment may be necessary to maintain the health of the mother and child. Radiation from dental X-rays is extremely low. However, every precaution is taken to minimize radiation exposure. A leaded apron minimizes exposure to the abdomen and should be used when any dental radiograph is taken. A leaded thyroid collar can protect the thyroid from radiation, and should be used whenever possible. The use of a leaded thyroid collar is strongly recommended for women of childbearing age, pregnant women and children. Dental radiographs are not contraindicated if one is trying to become pregnant or is breast feeding.
Does pregnancy affect my gums?
During pregnancy, your body’s hormone levels rise considerably. Gingivitis, especially common during the second to eighth months of pregnancy, may cause red, puffy or tender gums that tend to bleed when you brush. This sensitivity is an exaggerated response to plaque and is caused by an increased level of progesterone in your system. Dr. Spears may recommend more frequent cleanings during your second trimester or early third trimester to help you avoid problems.
What can I do to keep my mouth healthy during pregnancy?
To help prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease, brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque. Be sure to clean between your teeth daily with floss or interdentally cleaners. Ask your dentist or hygienist to show you how to brush and floss correctly. When choosing oral care products, look for those that display the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance, your assurance that they have met ADA standards of safety and effectiveness.