Taking good care of your teeth and gums when you’re pregnant is important for both you and for your growing baby.
Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that can increase your risk of developing gum disease1 — nearly 40% of pregnant women in the US have some form of periodontal disease, including gingivitis, cavities, and periodontitis.2
Untreated gum disease can lead to serious issues for moms — people with gingivitis and periodontal disease are three times more likely to suffer a stroke.3 Untreated gum disease has also been linked to heart disease.4
But your oral health effects your baby’s health, too. If you have untreated cavities during pregnancy, you can pass cavity-causing germs to your baby that can affect your baby’s teeth later in life.
Going to the dentist for a regular checkup and cleaning while you’re pregnant is especially important for your health and your baby’s health. However, you may have questions about what’s safe for you and your baby.
From regular cleanings to dental surgery, below is an oral care guide for when you’re pregnant to ensure yours and your growing baby’s health.
Going to the dentist for a routine cleaning and checkup is both safe and helpful for you and your developing baby.
Because of your increased risk of periodontal disease when you’re pregnant, it’s important for you to visit your dentist during your pregnancy. This will allow you to catch cavities before they can develop into periodontal disease, which can affect yours and your baby’s health.2
Some moms may worry about the effects of dental X-rays on their developing babies.
However, advances in technology have made dental X-rays safe for pregnant women.1 Your dentist will also take extra measures to safeguard you and your baby during the X-ray by shielding your abdomen and thyroid.
Fillings and Other Dental Procedures
It’s both safe and recommended to take care of procedures such as cavity fillings and crowns when you’re pregnant. These procedures can help reduce your risk of tooth or gum infection, which could then spread to your baby.6
You’ll want to schedule these procedures before you reach third trimester, as it may be difficult to lie on your back for an extended period of time after your second trimester.
Dental Implants or Oral Surgery
Like a regular dental check-up, oral surgery while you’re pregnant is safe for you and your baby. A recent study showed there was no associated risks with pregnancy outcomes and anesthesia used for dental treatments, like implants.
Dental work can sometimes be accompanied with antibiotics to treat or prevent infections. Although some antibiotics can be harmful to developing babies, antibiotics such as penicillin, amoxicillin and clindamycin are labeled category B for safety during pregnancy by the FDA.7 Category A antibiotics are the safest, while categories C, D, and X are increasingly harmful to fetuses.
Preventative At-Home Care
Maintaining a proper oral health regiment at home is key to preventing cavities and gum disease while you’re pregnant. The following steps can ensure the health of you and your baby while you’re pregnant:
- Brush twice a day and rinse every night with alcohol-free mouth rinse
- If you vomit because of morning sickness, be sure to brush right away to keep your stomach acid from eroding your teeth
- Avoid sugar — too much sugar can lead to presentational diabetes and lead to tooth decay for you and your baby1 — your baby's first teeth start to develop around three months into your pregnancy
- Eat dairy products like cheese and sugar-free yogurt — they’re good for baby's developing teeth, gums, and bones, and are good for you, too!
Upon the arrival of your baby, breastfeeding is the next big step for moms. Breastfeeding is great for your baby’s oral health, but did you know your dental health can affect your baby’s oral health while breastfeeding? Here’s everything you need to know about dental care when you’re breastfeeding >
Brought to you by Blue Hills Dental. Material discussed is meant for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as medical advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary. You should always consult a licensed professional when making decisions concerning dental care. #2017-45782 (exp. 9/19)