Pregnancy does not automatically damage your teeth. The old wives’ tale that warns a woman to expect a lost tooth for every baby is false. If the mother’s intake of calcium is inadequate during pregnancy, her bones – not her teeth – will provide the calcium her growing baby needs. This calcium loss is quickly made up after breastfeeding is stopped. However, the demands of pregnancy can lead to particular dental problems in some women.
During pregnancy, the gum problems that occur are not due to increased plaque, but a worse response to plaque as a result of increased hormone levels. Try to make a dental appointment before getting pregnant. That way, your teeth can be professionally cleaned, gum tissue can be carefully examined, and any oral health problems can be treated in advance of your pregnancy.
Tell your dentist the names and dosages of all drugs you are taking – including medications and prenatal vitamins prescribed by your doctor – as well as any specific medical advice your doctor has given you. Your dentist may need to alter your dental treatment plan based on this information. Certain drugs -- such as tetracycline -- can affect the development of your child's teeth and should not be given during pregnancy.
Pregnancy gingivitis is the most common dental concern during pregnancy, affecting almost 50% of all pregnant women. Pregnancy gingivitis causes your gums to become red, puffy, and inflamed. It can also trigger bleeding gums when you are brushing and flossing.
It is important to get proper dental care during pregnancy. Regular dental checkups and good hygiene practices at home can keep your teeth and gums free of tartar and plaque, and help to prevent or reduce the effects of pregnancy gingivitis and periodontal disease. However, there are some things to keep in mind when you visit your dentist in order to ensure that you and your baby stay healthy throughout your pregnancy.
Avoid dental X-rays during pregnancy. If X-rays are essential (such as in a dental emergency), your dentist will use extreme caution to safeguard you and your baby. Advances in technology have made X-rays much safer today than in past decades.