During pregnancy, making smart healthy choices is of the utmost priority. This extends to both the mother and the fetus. While everything from diet to exercise can affect health, there is often one other overlooked contributor. Namely: good oral hygiene.
Poor oral health has been thought of as a window to one’s overall health. It has links to everything from cardiovascular disease to diabetes and more.
With all that in mind, pregnancy and dental health certainly seem linked. Maintaining good health for mother and child during pregnancy must begin with good oral hygiene routines. In this article, we will outline some of the common dental issues pregnant women experience. We will also discuss ways to mitigate them.
There is a common myth that it is unsafe for pregnant women to have dental work. Some believe that the chemicals, X-rays, and stress of a dentist visit can harm a fetus. But this is patently untrue, as preventative dental care is not only safe but highly recommended.
Dentists who are trained to understand and treat pregnant patients will know the common dental symptoms that come bundled with pregnancy. And with the right protective measures, such as proper shielding, even a common dental X-ray can be safe for both mother and child.
Mothers may think it is simply easier to postpone their dentist visits altogether. But by avoiding routine care, they are potentially exacerbating issues that many pregnant women face.
Here are some of the most common issues that align with pregnancy and dental health:
While everyone should practice good dental health, this is especially true for pregnant women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 60 to 75% of pregnant women experience gingivitis. What’s worse, periodontitis has been correlated with poor pregnancy outcomes like low birth weights and premature labor.
Good daily brushing and flossing—along with regular dentist visits—are a surefire way of avoiding this common outcome.
Sometimes, pregnant women experience swelling inside their gum tissue. These oral tumors, known as pyogenic granulomas, often occur during the second trimester of a woman’s pregnancy. They are not cancerous.
However, they can be painful. This is an area where pregnancy and tooth pain are interconnected.
They can also lead to secondary infections if not properly treated by a dentist.
For many women, sensitive teeth and pregnancy seem intrinsically linked. While a fetus is growing, the body is working on overdrive. This leads to increased blood flow throughout the body, which, in turn, can lead to sensitivity where there previously was none.
While sensitive teeth and pregnancy can seem inconvenient, it is not often permanent. Still, a good dentist can recommend reliable sensitivity toothpaste to a pregnant mother experiencing pain.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
When your wisdom teeth come in, they often do so at awkward angles. Unfortunately, this is just as true for pregnant women. Patients dealing with painful wisdom teeth and pregnancy at the same time may opt to ignore what seems like a less important body issue. But postponing when your wisdom teeth are removed now may mean a more involved surgical procedure down the line.
When it comes to wisdom teeth and pregnancy, like all other issues, the best course is to address the issue before it grows bigger.
Interestingly, it would seem that children inherit more than just their parents’ dental makeup. It’s been noted that children who have mothers who have untreated cavities are three times more likely to have cavities themselves.
By maintaining a routine that includes prevention and regular dental appointments, health is inherited. We help form a foundation of good dental health for the next generation as well.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene During Your Pregnancy
When caring for two, it’s critical to take every step possible to maintain healthy habits. Your dentist visit should be one of them.
Dr. Kami Hoss has decades of experience working with parents on good dental outcomes for young ones. Learn more about Dr. Hoss’ approach to dentistry and order a copy of his book, If Your Mouth Could Talk.