Pregnancy affects almost every aspect of a woman’s health, including oral health. It is very important to maintain your regular 6-month dental visits during pregnancy.
More than 50% of women are affected by pregnancy gingivitis. Some women will notice that their gums are more red, swollen and prone to bleeding. Due to hormonal changes, the gums may become more sensitive to plaque build-up on teeth. Practicing good oral hygiene is beneficial to minimizing pregnancy gingivitis: brush twice a day for at least 2 minutes each time, floss daily and use antimicrobial mouthwash to control gum inflammation. More frequent dental cleanings may be needed during this time. Dental cleanings every 3 to 4 months may be recommended by your dentist.
Some women may experience severe morning sickness. If the teeth have frequent contact to acids, the top enamel layer of the teeth may weaken and erode. It is very important not to brush right afterwards to prevent removing any soft tooth structure.
Dental work can still be completed but any elective work, such as teeth whitening, should be scheduled before or after pregnancy. If there are any dental emergencies, x-rays may still be safely taken after the first trimester. Newer digital x-rays emit much less radiation than traditional films. Lead aprons will also help shield the mother and fetus.
by Dr. Eva Chen