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Oral health during pregnancy

How does pregnancy affect your dental health?

Throughout your pregnancy, your body undergoes a sudden surge of hormones which could abnormally intensify your organism’s natural defence system against dental plaque formation. If plaque is not removed every day through brushing and flossing, it can irritate your gums and cause pregnancy gingivitis.

Contrary to popular belief, the fetus does not absorb the calcium of the mother’s teeth and pregnancy does not signify tooth loss; it is all a myth! Even though hormonal changes can affect, to a certain degree, the future mother’s oral health, the situation can easily be fixed through increased dental hygiene measures.

Pregnancy gingivitis

The symptoms of pregnancy gingivitis include gum redness, inflammation, pain and bleeding and are seen in most pregnant women, to varying degrees. Depending on hormone levels variations, they usually appear around the second month of pregnancy and disappear on the ninth month.

If you already suffer from gingivitis, it will worsen during your pregnancy. Left untreated, it can lead to periodontal diseases, a more severe form of gum affliction.

Pregnant women are also more susceptible to develop pregnancy epulis: benign tumours of inflammatory nature that grow on the gums as a result of an overreaction of the body to the irritants that cause periodontal diseases. These tumours will generally heal by themselves, but if they become uncomfortable or affect chewing or oral hygiene, they may have to be surgically removed.

Prevention of oral health problems

Gingivitis can be prevented if you keep your teeth clean, especially on the edge of the gums. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, preferably after each meal, if possible. Floss every day.

Here are more tips:

  • If you suffer from morning sickness, rinse your mouth off with water and brush your teeth as often as possible to neutralize the acid produced by vomiting;
  • If brushing your teeth causes morning sickness, simply rinse your mouth with water, brush your teeth without toothpaste and use a mouthwash containing fluoride that eliminates plaque;
  • Maintain a balanced diet that includes a lot of vitamin C and B12, two important elements of oral health;
  • Ask your dentist advice on how to control dental plaque and prevent gingivitis.

When should you see your dentist?

If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, talk to your dentist in order to schedule dental cleaning appointments and a thorough dental exam. Routine cleaning can usually be continued throughout the pregnancy, but the best moment to undergo dental treatment is the second trimester.

For any other treatment, follow these indications:

  • All emergencies can be treated during pregnancy, but you should consult your obstetrician in case of emergency treatment that necessitates anesthesia, or if your dentist prescribes medicine;
  • Most health care professionals agree that it is preferable to avoid radiography during pregnancy, except in cases when it is necessary, such as emergency treatments. As for any X-ray procedures, we make sure to protect your abdomen with a lead apron;
  • During the last trimester, the length of your dental appointment should be as short as possible. Indeed, the inclined position of the chair can be uncomfortable for the future mother.

Procedures that are not urgent should be done after the baby’s birth.