Dental Care During Pregnancy
Pregnancy means a lot of changes for your body, and this includes your mouth. Prenatal care is vitally important, but this often does not include routine dental exams. The most important thing you can do for your baby is to take good care of yourself, and that should include a prenatal dental exam.
Why Is Dental Care Important During Pregnancy?
Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that affect your entire body, including your mouth. These changes can cause sensitive and swollen gums, making you more vulnerable to plaque build-up and bacteria. This can lead to pregnancy gingivitis, which is a swelling and inflammation of the gums. If left untreated, this condition can progress to periodontal (gum) disease. Gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. It can worsen blood sugar control, which can further complicate gestational diabetes.
Dietary changes during pregnancy can also create problems. Frequent high-carbohydrate meals can increase the risk for cavities. If you are unlucky enough to suffer from persistent nausea and vomiting, your tooth enamel could suffer from acid erosion. About 5% of women develop pyogenic granuloma, which is a benign lesion that most commonly presents on the gum, and can interfere with chewing. These conditions can add to the discomforts of pregnancy and negatively affect the mother's health. A visit to the dentist can help diagnose and treat these conditions.
Dental disease that is left untreated can result needlessly in pain and infections. In an attempt to find relief, a mom-to-be may self-medicate with potentially unsafe over-the-counter medicines. A mother's poor oral health can interfere with her nutritional intake, and after delivery, increases the child's chance of having Early Childhood Caries (ECC). If you have ever noticed blood (red) on your toothbrush, on your food, or in your saliva; your teeth seem to have shifted position or become loose; you use any tobacco products; or it has been more than two years since you have seen a dentist, you are especially at risk—even if you don't feel any dental pain.
All pregnant women should have a dental exam as part of their routine prenatal care. Preventive care including radiographs and certain other dental treatments can be safely provided throughout pregnancy. Good dental health for you means a good start for your baby.
Community Dental—Gentle, Safe, Comprehensive Dental CareOur approach is to work with you to develop a comprehensive treatment plan designed to improve and maintain your good dental health through preventive and restorative services. We participate with Mainecare as well as many dental insurance plans, and offer a sliding fee for eligible patients. We offer walk-in appointments during business hours for dental emergencies. We treat all ages, so your whole family can become established patients with us. Good oral health care is an important aspect of your overall health. Contact us today or give us a call—we have several locations throughout the state and look forward to your visit!
Date Last Modified: February 3, 2016
Women's attitudes to and perceptions of oral health and dental care during pregnancy. National Institutes of Health
Effect of pregnancy on periodontal and dental health. National Institutes of Health
Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. National Institutes of Health