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Dental Care and Pregnancy: Your Most Common Questions Answered

Dental Care and Pregnancy: Your Most Common Questions Answered

Women experience unique and varied hormonal changes at different life stages that may influence their oral health; pregnancy is no exception. During such an exciting and overwhelming time, your oral health may be neglected. Understanding these changes — combined with regular dental examinations and preventive care—is the best way to practise good oral health habits during this time. Today, Dr. Jaleel and the rest of the Ottawa Fairlawn Dental team compile a Q and A for all you need to know about how to take care of your teeth while pregnant.

Why should I tell my dentist I’m pregnant?

The dentist is a patient’s best source of advice on how to achieve and maintain optimal oral health at all times, and especially when a patient is pregnant. It’s important to remember normal pregnancy is not an illness; it’s a temporary condition. Remember, good oral health and habits in the mom are the best first steps in baby’s oral health.

Why are my gums bleeding more?

Hormone levels change considerably during pregnancy. The most common thing dentists notice in pregnant patients is that their gums can become inflamed and bleed more easily. This is due to changes in mouth bacteria that feed on the extra hormones secreted during pregnancy, and in the overall increase of fluid levels in the body as the pregnancy progresses. Regular professional dental cleanings are an important part of reducing the inflammation that can occur during pregnancy — as well as the patient’s own daily home care. Ask our Ottawa dental team about what type of solutions fit your needs. If you continue to have problems with your gums post-birth, book an appointment and talk to Dr. Jaleel.

At what point in my pregnancy should I schedule a dental exam with my dentist?

The Public Health Agency of Canada suggests scheduling an examination by your Ottawa dentist during the first trimester to have your oral health diagnosed. Sometimes, the six-month routine visit (which included scaling, polishing and a fluoride treatment) may be doubled – every three months instead of every six. Dr. Jaleel wants to ensure you have healthy gums the whole way through my pregnancy.

smiling-mother-and-baby

Should I have a dental X-ray taken while pregnant?

It’s safe to have dental radiographs taken during pregnancy; although, dentists tend to avoid them, except in the
case of a dental emergency. If a patient has an acute infection (such as an abscess), it’s important this be treated promptly. Emergency care during pregnancy is not only safe, it’s also essential. There are certain types of local anesthetics that are avoided during pregnancy, as well as certain prescription pain medication and antibiotics. If you require X-rays, you and your baby will be shielded from the low dose of radiation by a lead apron.

Can vomiting during pregnancy cause problems with my teeth? Will my frequent ‘morning’ sickness have an effect on my enamel or gums?

Stomach acid can damage the surface of your teeth and promote tooth decay. Rinse your mouth with water after throwing up and don’t brush your teeth right away, since doing so tends to brush the acids into the teeth. If vomiting is really severe, you can rinse with a neutralizing rinse made by adding a teaspoon of baking soda to room-temperature water and swishing, then spitting it out.

Is it true a woman loses one tooth for every pregnancy?

No, that’s an old spouses’ tale. The calcium needed to make your baby’s teeth comes directly from your diet, not from your own teeth. However, if you don’t get enough calcium while pregnant, your body will provide this essential mineral from the calcium in your bones, putting your bones at risk. Even though the best source of nutrients is a well-balanced diet, with a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and dairy products, many pregnant women find it difficult to achieve this if they are suffering from pregnancy related nausea and vomiting. Ask you obstetrician or physician, or nutritionist what additional supplements may be needed.