It’s easy to get caught up with all the changes you are experiencing when you get pregnant and preparing the home for the arrival of your little one. This sometimes means certain things fall by the wayside, such as your dental health. And in fact, there are many expecting mothers who even go so far as to eschew visiting the dentist for fear that it isn’t safe for their baby.
In this story, Dr Divya Bhargava of Smile Inc. Dental Surgeons in Singapore shares some pregnancy-related dental advice and what you should keep a look out for when it comes to your oral hygiene during this time.
Mummyfique: What are some things related to my dental care that I should do when I find out I’m pregnant?
Dr Divya Bhargava:
- Always inform your dentist about your pregnancy.
- Only routine dental work like cleaning, fillings and crowns should be done during your pregnancy to reduce chances of infection, and it is best done when you are in your second trimester. Avoid doing any dental work other than cleanings in your first and third trimester.
- Elective dental work like bleaching, wisdom teeth extraction and cosmetic procedures should be postponed until after childbirth.
- Avoid having dental x-ray unless there is a dental emergency.
- If antibiotics or other medicines are required while you are treated for dental work, ensure that you are only prescribed medicine that are labeled category B as they are safe and do not cross the placental barrier.
What are some of the changes to my mouth that I may notice when I get pregnant?
Pregnancy Gingivitis and Pregnancy Tumours
Due to hormonal changes when you are pregnant, poor oral hygiene and plaque build-up can cause pregnancy gingivitis and tumours. You will see bleeding, swelling and tenderness of the gums. Pregnancy tumours also appear as small overgrowths of tissue between the teeth.
Good oral hygiene practices at home and frequent dental cleanings will take care of these conditions.
After you have been lying on the chair for long period of time, sit up for a few minutes before getting off the chair. If you immediately get off after being in the reclining position for too long, you may experience postural hypotension where your blood pressure falls, causing possible lightheadedness.
If you have severe morning sickness, remember to rinse your mouth with a mixture of baking soda and water to prevent the stomach acid from attacking the enamel of the teeth.
Watch your diet
Take prenatal vitamins, and adopt a balanced and healthy diet as your child’s teeth will begin to develop by the third month of your pregnancy. Have plenty of fruits, vegetables and a diet high in dairy products like cheese and yogurt. This is important for the development of your baby’s teeth, bones and overall development.
Avoid sugary snacks and sweet cravings that may cause tooth decay.
What are good oral hygiene practices should I adopt during my pregnancy?
- Due to the change in your hormone levels, you have to pay more attention to your oral health, and brushing and flossing twice a day is a must.
- If morning sickness is preventing you from brushing with your regular toothpaste, switch to a bland tasting one recommended by your dentist. Rinse your mouth with a mixture of baking soda and water after your morning sickness to avoid the stomach acids from attacking the enamel.
- Keep your regular cleaning appointment with your dentist and note that you may need to see the dentist more frequently if pregnancy gingivitis or pregnancy tumours occurs.
Dr Divya Bhargava is a dental surgeon at Smile Inc. Dental Surgeons and a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.