​How will pregnancy affect your teeth?

Pregnancy is a time when you need to pay particular attention to your oral health, which is directly related to good health overall.  Even if you only think that you might be pregnant, are taking any medications or have received any special advice from your physician related to your pregnacy, let your dentist know. 
 
There are plenty of guidelines as to what pregnant women should and shouldn’t do, however as for as oral health is concerned, the 2 questions are: “How do I protect my teeth during pregnancy?” and “Is dental surgery safe during pregnancy?”
 
Preventive dental work, such as teeth cleaning, is essential to avoid oral infections and gum disease, both of which have been linked to preterm birth.  Additionally, dental surgery, such as cavity fillings, should be carried out to reduce the chance of infection.
 
If you need a filling, root canal, or tooth pulled, the numbing medications used by your dentist are totally safe for both you and your baby.  And, yes, it’s safe to get an x-ray during pregnancy.  Your abdomen and throat will be shielded by a leaded apron and collar which minimizes any radiation exposure.
 
A woman’s hormone levels rise during pregnancy, which can lead to an inflammation of the gums, causing swelling and tenderness.  This is called pregnancy gingivitis.  Your gums may also bleed a little when you brush or floss.  Left untreated, gingivitis can lead to more serious forms of gum disease.  We strongly recommend that you keep your teeth and gums clean; This means brushing twice daily for a minimum of 2 minutes and flossing once daily.  Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush, a gentle brushing technique, and a fluoride toothpaste (sensitive toothpaste is an option).
 
Pregnant women may be more prone to cavities for a number of reasons.  If you’re eating more carbohydrates than usual or if your cravings lead you to sugary treats, this can cause decay.  Morning sickness can also increase the amount of acid in your mouth and this can eat away at the tooth enamel.  It is not a good idea to brush your teeth straight after vomiting.  Instead, rinse your mouth out with water and perhaps apply some toothpaste to your teeth with your fingertip.
 
Some women may develop red, localized swelling on the gum during pregnancy, often during the second trimester.  This is called a pregnancy epulus or pregnancy tumor.  It may bleed easily and is caused by excess plaque.  Don’t be alarmed – it is not cancer and will usually disappear after your baby is born.
 
Enjoy this special time in your life in which you will want to keep you and your baby healthy.  However, just remember to look after your teeth. 

I wish you a happy and healthy pregnancy!
 
-Bonnie
Braeside Dental Centre

​How will pregnancy affect your teeth?

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