Let’s Talk About Oral Health During Pregnancy With Dr. Adena Borodkin of Golden Valley Kids Pediatric Dentistry in Minneapolis, MN
Pregnancy can sure be rough! Your body is changing in all sorts of fun (and not so fun) ways. And your mouth changes too. Pregnancy increases your risks of developing oral diseases like gum disease and cavities because of the physiological, dietary, and hormonal changes that are happening. In fact, gingivitis is reported to be the most common oral disease during pregnancy, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD).
Did you know that if you’re having problems with your teeth or gums while you’re pregnant, that it can increase the risk that your unborn child will have cavities? So, your oral health routines before, during, and after pregnancy, will affect your child’s oral health. Having a healthy mouth during pregnancy can decrease the chance of cavity-causing bacteria being transferred to the baby. Improving the oral health of pregnant women reduces complications of dental diseases during pregnancy to both the mother and the developing fetus (AAPD).
A lot of women worry that it’s not safe to go to the dentist while they are pregnant. Let me assure that it is safe and important, especially during this time that your body is changing so much! Go get your teeth cleaned, exams done, and ask questions if you have concerns about any changes occurring in your mouth. And it is safe to have x-rays taken; just make sure that a lead apron is used that covers your neck (to protect your thyroid) and your belly (to protect that sweet little baby). You can also have routine and emergency procedures done safely like fillings and extractions. It’s actually more important to treat these urgent needs than to leave them alone as we don’t want the bacteria that cause tooth problems to cause infections and get into your bloodstream.
There is one caveat … as your pregnancy progresses into the third trimester, it will be more difficult to lay on your back for long periods of time. For this reason, if you do need to get any fillings or other work (besides exams and cleanings) you should try to schedule them in your second trimester. This is best accomplished during weeks 14-20 of gestation.
We believe that it’s so important for women to receive dental care during pregnancy for their overall health and their oral health, and for their children’s oral health. Taking care of your mouth now helps you take care of your baby’s mouth in the future, greatly reducing oral diseases in children! We know that if we can keep infants and toddler’s mouths cavity free, they are much less likely to ever get cavities as they grow older.
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to call us!