Taking care of your teeth during pregnancy: cleanings, cavities, and gingivitis
You will probably have a lot of medical questions during your pregnancy, and dental procedures might be high on your list of concerns. Can you get your teeth cleaned? Can you still have anesthesia? What should you eat for healthy teeth? Does pregnancy cause calcium deficiency? Let’s take a closer look at oral health during pregnancy.
The inside skinny on taking care of your teeth for two
- It’s important to see your dentist or dental hygienist early in your pregnancy,
- Have bloodwork done to make sure you don’t have any vitamin or mineral deficiencies,
- Pregnancy means big changes for your body, so it’s important to maintain good brushing habits and keep an eye out for any dental problems.
What should you eat when you’re pregnant?
Your baby starts developing teeth as an embryo, about 5 to 6 weeks after conception – possibly before you even know you’re pregnant! It’s important to eat right throughout your pregnancy.
Avoid sugary and sticky foods, and if you do eat them brush your teeth immediately afterwards.
If you don’t brush after eating sugary food, your saliva will become too acidic and can trigger demineralization of your tooth enamel, which is the first step in cavity formation.
The more often you eat high-sugar treats, the farther the damage to your enamel will move toward the less calcified interior of your teeth (dentin and pulp).
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Vitamins and minerals: key allies during pregnancy
Why vitamins and minerals are key
A healthy pregnancy requires:
- an adequate intake of vitamins A, B, C, D, etc.
- and minerals like phosphorus, iron, and calcium.
We recommend seeing your doctor for bloodwork to check your levels and define a treatment plan if you have any deficiencies.
Calcium deficiency during pregnancy
The calcium level in your teeth is stable and pregnancy can’t change it. But it’s true that if you’re not getting enough calcium in your diet from foods like dairy, your baby will absorb the calcium they need from your bones.
Cleanings, cavities, and dental procedures during pregnancy: what’s safe?
We recommend an appointment with your dental hygienist during your first trimester.
A dental check-up is key in early pregnancy
Your hygienist will perform a full check-up and provide personalized advice for a healthy mouth during your pregnancy. They will also perform a full dental cleaning to remove the buildup that causes cavities and gum disease (biofilm or dental plaque, tartar, stains).
Dental x-rays during pregnancy
While dental x-rays aren’t risky for you or your baby, we will only perform them in emergency situations like an abscess or a broken tooth. If you experience a dental emergency that requires x-rays while you are pregnant, we will provide a protective lead apron.
Dental procedures during pregnancy
If you need treatment, most dental procedures can be planned for your second trimester. The products used, including anesthesia, are safe for your unborn baby. A few procedures like teeth whitening will need to wait until after you deliver.
What should you do if you have pregnancy gingivitis?
The hormone changes you go through during pregnancy can affect your gums and any dental plaque in your mouth can make the situation worse.
Swelling, redness, sensitivity, and spontaneous bleeding can occur. It’s important to keep up a good daily tooth care routine: brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste and flossing. If you take care of your mouth, your gums will be back to normal soon after you deliver.
Periodontitis is linked to prematurity and low birthweight
Numerous studies have shown that the toxins released by gum disease that affects the gum and bone support tissue around your teeth can lead to a risk of prematurity and low birthweight for your baby.
That can lead to a weak immune system, birth defects, and developmental delays.
How can tooth care help prevent morning sickness?
Brushing with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and rinsing with water or a fluoride mouthwash can help eliminate gastric acid on your teeth, tongue, and mouth and in your saliva.