How does pregnancy affect your teeth?
Like every other body system, the mouth and teeth are greatly affected by the changes in body hormones. Progesterone, specifically, can cause the gums to bleed when brushing and swell during the final trimester of the pregnancy. Increased saliva can also wreak havoc on the gums and protective coating of the teeth during pregnancy. It's vital to safeguard your dental health especially while you are pregnant, and see your dentist regularly.
A dental visit is highly recommended during the second or third trimester of the pregnancy. When going to the dentist, make sure to tell them you are pregnant and how far into the pregnancy you currently are. This will help the dentist look for issues that appear with teeth during pregnancy. This also advises the medical staff they will not be able to complete the mouth x-ray unless medically necessary.
Common myths about teeth during pregnancy
Some people believe that during pregnancy the calcium baby needs to grow healthy teeth is taken from the teeth of the mother. This is a myth. The calcium in mom's teeth is not affected, but the calcium she consumes does have a great effect on the growth of the newborn teeth. Mom can consume dairy products as a part of a healthy pregnancy diet and/or take supplements as directed by the obstetrician. It is important not to take any supplements without first consulting the Ob / Gyn.
Caring for your teeth during pregnancy
Home care of teeth during pregnancy is very important. Mom should brush her teeth at least two times a day with toothpaste that contains fluoride. Mouthwash should be changed to a non-alcohol version and could also contain fluoride for added health benefits. Flossing is also important. With the increase in acid from saliva, the crevices between the teeth are more likely to decay during the pregnancy.
Smoking during pregnancy is a health risk in and of itself, but women often do not know the effects of smoking on the teeth. The enamel of the teeth is softer in people who smoke. Add in the acid from the increase in saliva and dental carries could be a significant problem without proper care of teeth during pregnancy.
Dental X-rays and pregnancy
Getting dental X-rays during pregnancy is safe, especially when you are covered with a lead apron. Dental infections and other issues can affect the health of the fetus and need to be treated immediately where the removal of wisdom teeth can often wait until the baby is born.
The radiation levels from a dental x-ray are extremely low. Erring on the side of caution, the dentist will not ask to complete a dental x-ray unless it is necessary for the health of mom and/or baby. In cases of certain dental problems during pregnancy, the x-ray may be needed to form a plan of action for treatment.