Staying healthy during your pregnancy is essential.
However, with an influx of information on the internet and from people around you it can be hard to know who to listen to. As far as dental care and pregnancy goes, there are a lot of myths out there making it hard for expecting parents to know which information to follow.
As a dentist who’s been practicing for more than 20 years, it’s been my goal to help educate pregnant women about their dental health during this time to help avoid any dental issues. Today I’ve decided to talk through a few common myths that women may see about their oral health during pregnancy and help you know what to expect with your dental health during this time.
4 Common Myths About Dental Care During Pregnancy
Let’s debunk the most 4 common myths about dental care and pregnancy:
Myth #1: You Won’t Have Trouble with Your Teeth and Gums During Pregnancy
One common myth about pregnancy is that it doesn’t affect your dental health at all.
This, however, couldn’t be further from the truth.
FACT: Your crazy fluctuating hormones during pregnancy actually do affect your oral health quite a bit.
Pregnant women are at a greater risk for certain dental issues, such as gum disease and pregnancy tumors, because of their changing hormones. These conditions can cause adverse birth effects, so it’s important to be aware of them. However, both of these conditions are treatable, so make it a point to visit your dentist during your pregnancy.
You should also be sure to continue with an effective oral health routine to help prevent gum disease and tooth decay. This includes brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and rinsing with mouthwash. This care routine is essential to your dental health, and it’s important not to neglect it during your pregnancy.
Myth #2: Your Oral Health Doesn’t Affect Your Baby
Sometimes women think that their oral health will have zero impact on their growing baby.
FACT: If you are pregnant and have any dental issues, such as moderate to severe gum disease, you may be at a higher risk of delivering your baby preterm or at a low birth weight.
In fact, 18 out of 100 premature births are believed to be caused by gum or periodontal disease. This is why it’s extremely important to visit your dentist to help uncover any dental issues you may be experiencing and receive the treatment you need.
You’ll also need to work on taking preventive measures at home to help avoid any serious dental issues.
Myth #3: You Should Wait Until After You Have Given Birth to Have Dental Work Done
Another myth pregnant women often hear is that they should avoid dental work while they’re expecting.
FACT: It’s actually extremely important to receive dental care to help prevent gum disease. You will need to have regular cleanings and exams during your pregnancy.
Do note that for treatments, such as cavity fillings or anything involving sedation, it’s best to hold off on them until your second trimester, as this is the time where it will be safest for you and your baby. If you’re worried about any adverse effects, it is possible for you to postpone the procedure until after you give birth. You’ll want to be sure to discuss your options with your dentist.
Now, if you experience a dental emergency, you may need to undergo a dental procedure anyways to make sure that you and your baby are safe and healthy.
Other dental work, such as dental x-rays, are also considered safe during a woman’s pregnancy. They can even play a key part in detecting serious dental issues, such as bone loss, hidden tooth decay, and inflamed tooth pulp.
The amount of radiation exposed to you and your baby is extremely low during dental x-rays, which is why they are considered safe and may be a necessity for the safety of you and your baby.
If you have any concerns, you can always talk to your dentist and they will help evaluate your case and decide if x-rays will be the safest option for you at this time or if they should be postponed.
As for cosmetic procedures, such as teeth whitening, it’s best to completely hold off until after your baby is here. These procedures are often not necessary, so it’s important to stray away from exposing yourself and your baby to any harsh chemicals.
Myth #4: You Don’t Have to Worry About Tooth Decay and Gum Disease While Breastfeeding
Lastly, many expecting mothers believe that they won’t have to worry about their dental health as much after they’ve given birth.
FACT: The risk of oral disease and tooth decay does not automatically go away after you have given birth. Nursing mothers may experience many of the same dental issues that they did during pregnancy.
In fact, women who are breastfeeding may experience up to 5 percent bone loss, which can lead to gingivitis.
Some women may also experience teeth grinding while breastfeeding, due to soreness of the face and neck. If you are a nursing mother, be sure to keep a close eye on your dental health and make sure that you carve out time to visit your dentist after your baby is born.
Many dentists and doctors encourage new mothers to remain on a diet that is low in sugar to help prevent tooth decay and continue their effective dental care routine at home.
A Healthy Mouth for a Healthy Mom and Baby
While you’re probably feeling excited for the arrival of your new little one, it’s important that you are as healthy as possible throughout your entire pregnancy.
However, the internet is overloaded with information and people love to give their unsolicited advice. This can make it hard to know what advice to listen to, especially when it comes to dental care.
Bottom line: Having a healthy mouth is extremely important for the safety of you and your baby.
Be diligent about your dental health during this time, and be sure to visit your dentist and continue an effective oral health care routine at home.
What About You?
What are some myths about dental health during pregnancy that you’ve heard, and what are your best tips for taking care of your teeth while pregnant? Let us know in the comments and be sure to share this post so other expecting mothers can learn about their dental health.
Dr. Amanda Tavoularis has been committed to excellent dentistry for over 20 years. She studied at the University of Washington School of Dentistry and has gone on to complete over 200 hours of study at the prestigious Kois Center located in Seattle.
She belongs to numerous dentistry networks, including the American Dental Association and the Wellness Dentistry Network. With being a female dentist on the Dentably team, Dr. Amanda can provide her expertise for dental care for women, as well as expecting mothers. She has a son of her own and is committed to providing the most accurate information possible for patients.