|Amanda Tavoularis DDS, Dentably Magazine|
Becoming pregnant is a special time in a couple’s life, yet it can be overwhelming to be overloaded with information from friends and family members. When it comes to dental care during pregnancy, there are a lot of myths and it can be hard to know which information you should follow. As a dentist who’s been practicing for more than 20 years, it’s been my goal to help educate expecting mothers on dental health and debunk some common myths they may be hearing.
Myth #1: Your Mouth Isn’t Affected By Pregnancy
A common myth about pregnancy is that it doesn’t affect your dental health. However, changing hormones during pregnancy actually do affect your oral health quite a bit. Pregnant women are at a greater risk for certain dental issues such as gum disease and pregnancy tumors. These conditions can cause preterm births and low birth weights so it’s important to be aware of them. However, both of these conditions are treatable, so be sure that you visit your dentist during your pregnancy. To help prevent gum disease and tooth decay you should also continue with an effective oral care routine at home. This includes brushing twice a day, flossing once a day and rinsing with mouthwash. This is essential to your dental health and it’s important not to neglect your routine during pregnancy.
Myth #2: Dental Work Should Be Avoided During Pregnancy
Another myth pregnant women often hear is that they should avoid dental work. However, it’s actually extremely important to receive dental care to help prevent gum disease. You will need to have regular cleanings and exams during your pregnancy, but for treatments like cavity fillings or anything involving sedation, it’s best to hold off on them until your second trimester as this is the time where it will be safest for you and your baby. If you’re worried about any adverse effects, it is possible for you to postpone the procedure until after birth. Note that if you experience a dental emergency, you may need to undergo a dental procedure anyway to make sure you and your baby are safe and healthy.
Myth #3: Risk of Disease & Decay Stops after Pregnancy
Finally, breastfeeding mothers are still at risk for dental issues. The risk of oral disease and decay does not automatically go away after you have given birth. In fact, women who are nursing may experience up to 5 percent bone loss which can lead to gingivitis. If you are breastfeeding, keep a close eye on your dental health and make sure that you make time to visit the dentist after your baby is born. Also, many dentists and doctors encourage mothers to remain on a diet that is low in sugar to prevent tooth decay and continue their effective dental care routine at home after pregnancy.
Growing a family is a beautiful part of life and pregnancy is a special experience for women. While you’re probably feeling excited, there may be some challenges that you are facing with pregnancy as well. Dental care during pregnancy can be confusing too, but having a healthy mouth is important for the safety of you and for your baby.