Dental Care During Pregnancy

Prenatal Dental Care

During pregnancy, women face myriad physical, hormonal and psychological changes that influence their daily lives.

Contrary to popular belief, pregnancy does not cause an increase in the number of cavities or tooth loss. Pregnant women do experience an increase in appetite and an increase in their desire for sugary foods. If there is poor oral hygiene, it is only natural to expect more dental decay.

Under these conditions, it is very important for expectant mothers to pay a visit to their dentist. The local anesthesia used at dental offices will not harm the baby as long as it is used sparingly by the dentist.

Another myth is that pregnant women may lose some of the calcium of their teeth because the baby will absorb it for its own for growth. The sources of calcium for the babies do not come from the mother’s teeth, and in this situation, poor oral hygiene plays the most important role in demineralization of the dental structure.

Gum disease during pregnancy

The most frequent oral condition during pregnancy is periodontal disease due to lack of proper oral hygiene. Periodontal disease (gum disease) is reported among 35% of pregnant women.

Therefore, the most common procedures at the dental offices for pregnant patients is prevention of periodontal disease and tooth decay by reinforcing brushing and flossing techniques, as well as periodic cleanings.

Patients should be alert to red and swollen gums that bleed easily. These symptoms correspond to gingivitis. Proper control of dental plaque and avoiding surgery, sticky foods will decrease the chances of gingivitis.

As a preventive treatment, women can consume fluoride tablets prescribed by their dentist. This treatment may be taken on the second and third trimester of pregnancy, and it will protect the child’s teeth against dental cavities. However, its consumption should be carefully measured because an excess of fluoride intake may cause malformations in the teeth’s structure.

If a particular dental treatment is necessary, it is best to have this procedure performed during the second trimester. It is always important to avoid x-rays during pregnancy because the radiation can cause serious damage to the baby.

Additionally, antibiotics and other medication should only be taken only as absolutely necessary.