This is a guest article dispelling myths about dental care during pregnancy by Dr. Amanda Tavoularis (dentably.com)
When you and your partner choose to grow your family, it is one of the most exciting times in your life. While you’re probably busy preparing to bring a new life into this world, there may be certain challenges that you face, such as family members and friends overloading you with information. This can be overwhelming, especially for first time parents. How do you know who to listen to?
When it comes to dental care during pregnancy, there are a lot of myths and it can be hard to know which information you should follow. As a dentist who’s been practicing for more than 20 years, it’s been my goal to help educate expecting mothers on how to have the best dental health and debunk some myths you might have heard.
Myths About Dental Care During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Myth #1: Being Pregnant Doesn’t Affect Your Mouth
A common myth about pregnancy is that it doesn’t affect your dental health. This, however, couldn’t be further from the truth. Your changing hormones during pregnancy actually do affect your oral health quite a lot. In fact, 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 preterm births and low birth weights so it’s important to be aware of them. However, both of these conditions are treatable, so be sure that you visit your dentist during your pregnancy.
To help prevent gum disease and tooth decay you should also continue with an effective oral care routine at home. This includes brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and rinsing with mouthwash. This is essential to your dental health and it’s important not to neglect your routine during pregnancy.
Myth #2: You Should Avoid Dental Work During Your Pregnancy
Another myth pregnant women often hear is that they should avoid dental work. However, 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 birth. Note that if you experience a dental emergency, you may need to undergo a dental procedure anyway to make sure you and your baby are safe and healthy.
Finally, it’s also best to postpone any cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening until after the birth as well. These procedures are often not necessary so it’s important to stray away from exposing any harsh chemicals to you and your baby.
Myth #3: Risk of Disease & Decay Stops After Pregnancy
Finally, breastfeeding mothers may experience many of the same dental issues that they did during pregnancy. The risk of oral disease and decay does not automatically go away after you have given birth. In fact, women who are nursing may experience up to 5 percent bone loss which can lead to gingivitis. Some women may also experience teeth grinding during nursing due to soreness of the face and neck. If you are breastfeeding keep a close eye on your dental health and make sure that you make time to visit the dentist after your baby is born. Also, many dentists and doctors encourage mothers to remain on a diet that is low in sugar to prevent tooth decay and continue their effective dental care routine at home.
Growing a family is a beautiful part of life and pregnancy is a special experience for women. While you’re probably feeling excited, there may be some challenges that you are facing with pregnancy as well. Dental care during pregnancy can be confusing too, but having a healthy mouth is important for the safety of you and for your baby. Continue taking care of your oral health during this time as you prepare to welcome a little one into this world.