Dental Care during Pregnancy

Why is dental care in pregnancy important?
During pregnancy, you are more likely to have problems with your teeth or gums. If you have an infection in your teeth or gums, the chance of your baby being premature (born early) or having low birth weight may be slightly higher than if your teeth and gums are healthy.

What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is an infection in the mouth caused by bacteria. The bacteria use the sugar you eat to make acid. That acid can destroy the enamel (protective) coating on your teeth, which can cause tooth decay (cavities) or even tooth loss. Periodontal disease can begin with gum swelling and bleeding, called gingivitis. If it is not treated, gingivitis can spread from the gums to the bones that support the teeth and to other parts of the mouth. However, Dr. Johns and your hygienist can treat periodontal disease even when you are pregnant.

Why are pregnant women more at risk for periodontal disease?

There are 2 major reasons women can have dental problems during pregnancy:
Pregnancy gingivitis—During pregnancy, changes in hormone levels allow bacteria to grow in the mouth and gums more easily. This makes periodontal disease more common when you are pregnant.
Nausea and vomiting—Pregnant women may have nausea and vomiting or “morning sickness,” especially in the first trimester. The stomach acids from vomiting can also break down the enamel coating of the teeth.

Is it safe to visit your dentist in pregnancy?
Dental care is safe during pregnancy and important for the health of you and your baby. Your dentist can help you improve the health of your mouth during pregnancy. Your Dr. Johns can also find and treat problems with your teeth and gums.

What should you know before you see the dentist?
Make sure Johns Family Dentistry knows that you are pregnant.  If medications for infection or for pain are needed, Dr. Johns can prescribe ones that are safe for you and your baby.
Tell your hygienist about any changes you have noticed since you became pregnant and about any medications or supplements you are taking.
Dental work can be done safely at any point in pregnancy. If possible, it is best to delay treatments and procedures until after the first trimester.

Tips for Improving Your Dental Health

Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush.  Floss once a day.  Use toothpaste and mouth rinse that contains fluoride.  Chew sugarless or xylitol-containing gum 2-3 times per day.  Rinse your mouth with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed in a cup of water if you vomit or have morning sickness.  If possible, try to wait one hour after vomiting before brushing your teeth.  Limit how much sugar you eat.  Choose nutritious snacks like raw fruits, vegetable, yogurt or cheese.  Drink water or low-fat milk.  Avoid beverages that are carbonated or contain a lot of sugar, like soda or juice.

More Questions

Feel free to contact the office.  Nicole, one of our restorative hygienists is currently pregnant with her second child and has her share of experience and tips as well.