Pregnancy is an exciting time in your life that brings about many changes to your body. Your oral health is affected as well. There are specific things to keep in mind during pregnancy related to your teeth, gums, and caring for them. Let’s talk about the things you should be thinking about for your mouth while expecting a baby.
Tell your dentist about any prescription or over-the-counter medicines you’re taking, so that it’ll be easier to prescribe any drugs needed for you during dental treatment. Your dentist may also want to consult your doctor to discuss safe painkiller or antibiotic options for you during pregnancy.
If you have a dental emergency or a problem that needs diagnosis, an X-ray may be required. Radiation exposure from dental X-rays is very low, but your dentist will cover you with a leaded apron to protect your abdomen. A leaded thyroid collar will also be used to protect your thyroid from radiation.
It’s not uncommon for some women to develop pregnancy gingivitis, which is a gum problem that occurs during the hormonal fluctuations of pregnancy. This condition is an inflammation of the gums that causes tenderness, swelling, and usually some bleeding during dental hygiene tasks. Your dentist may suggest more frequent cleanings during pregnancy to prevent gingivitis, because left untreated it can advance to more serious gum disease.
Some pregnant women experience overgrowths of tissue called pregnancy tumors, which appear on the gums mostly during the second trimester. They are not cancerous and are usually located between your teeth. Dentists believe they are related to having too much plaque. Pregnancy tumors bleed easily and appear red and raw. Usually they go away after the baby’s birth, but some women prefer to have them removed before then. Discuss options with your dentist to see what’s best for you.