Dental health refers to the health state of your gums, teeth, and mouth in general. Your oral health significantly affects your general body health, and thus if you happen to get pregnant, you should include regular visits to the dentist as a part of prenatal care.
According to experts, it is better to treat dental issues while pregnant than wait until you deliver. Studies show that pregnancy puts you at risk of dental health issues, which can harm your pregnancy. For instance, gum disease has been linked to premature births (a birth that occurs too early, that is, before 37 weeks of pregnancy). Babies who are born prematurely are likely to have health problems as they grow than full-term born babies. This greatly emphasizes the importance of healthy oral care practices.
An expectant mother’s oral health is linked to her unborn baby, and the connection can be traced back to bacteria present in her oral cavity. Suppose you are expectant and have excessive bacterial growth in your oral cavity. In that case, the bacteria via your gums can enter your bloodstream and go up to the uterus, where they trigger the secretion of prostaglandins – a chemical suspected to cause premature labor. Brushing teeth thoroughly with toothpaste containing fluoride when pregnant lowers the chances of dangerous pregnancy complications and reduces the risk of the newborn baby to future oral infections.
During pregnancy, the body undergoes various changes that can have a toll on your gums and teeth. For instance, expectant mothers have increased levels of hormones like estrogen and progesterone that increase the risk for some oral health issues since they make your teeth vulnerable to plaque. Plaque buildup is the main cause of inflammation and bleeding gums in pregnant women, a condition termed pregnancy gingivitis.
Also, pregnancy may change your eating habits where you find yourself taking certain foods more than you did before the pregnancy. The types of food you consume can affect your oral health. If you crave sugary snacks, try having foods that have low added sugar as sugar increases the risk of dental decay, which results in dental cavities that are associated with toothaches.
During the first months of pregnancy, vomiting is common as a result of morning sickness. The vomit contains stomach acid and exposes your teeth to it. If this happens frequently, it can damage your teeth’ enamel predisposing you to decay and tooth sensitivity.
According to data from the ADA, most oral care procedures and dental services can be safely performed during the pregnancy period. Some of the procedures you can get from our dentist in Gilbert, AZ, including dental x-rays, professional teeth cleaning, dental extractions, and tooth fillings.
Getting a dental x-ray is safe during pregnancy, and although the dental x-rays emit extremely low radiation, your dentist will still cover your abdomen with a leaded apron and your throat area with a leaded collar to minimize exposure of the unborn baby to the radiation.
Morning sickness, cravings for sweet snacks, and the high acidity levels in the mouth during pregnancy increase the risk of getting dental caries. Both the American Dental Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have issued a green light on treating cavities during pregnancy and agree that it is better to treat oral problems during this period than to wait until delivery. Delaying treatment puts the mother and the child at risk of getting an infection or other dental problems.
You can get dental fillings and save your teeth. It is, however, important to note that silver fillings have dental amalgams that contain mercury which can pose a risk to the child. Experts recommend talking with your dentist first before getting fillings so that he/she can help you choose the best amalgam type.
If you happen to be an expectant mother who needs dental work like to have a tooth pulled out, get a dental filling or a root canal procedure, rest assured that the numbing anesthetics our dentist uses are safe for both you and the baby. A 2015 study done by the American Dental Association involved following two different groups of expectant women; one group underwent dental procedures that used anesthetics while the other did not. Data from this study revealed that the anesthetics did not have any significant effect or risk on the rate of birth defects, prematurity, baby weight, and miscarriages.