Occasionally I run into a patient who happens to be newly pregnant. During this time most patients have yet to be given the laundry list of do and do not’s for their day to day lives from their obstetricians and health care providers. So to help anyone who is pregnant, may be pregnant or is planning on being pregnant I’ve compiled a list of what to do for your mouth while you are pregnant.
Do tell your dentist or hygienist you are pregnanteven if it is only a slight possibility or you are in the early days of pregnancy. During pregnancy there are certain restrictions to treatment, such as epinephrine in some of the anesthetics, dental radiographs (unless necessary during an emergency situation) and nitrous oxide. Let your health care provider know prior to your appointment about your pregnancy so that they can modify treatment accordingly.
Do continue to have your exam & cleaning appointments every 6 months. During pregnancy we recommend that you continue with hygiene appointments. There are many changes occurring in your body and often times an expectant mother can develop something called pregnancy gingivitis. Your body can become more reactive to plaque and calculus during pregnancy which can cause more inflammation and bleeding between cleanings than you may be used to. By maintaining a good hygiene schedule this can help with inflammation as well as avoid periodontal issues during your pregnancy.
Do Not plan on having elective dental work during your pregnancy. We recommend that elective dental work should be completed after the pregnancy (with the exception of dental cleanings). Emergency dental treatment can be completed at any point, and dental treatment that should not wait until after pregnancy is best completed after the first trimester. In each situation it is important to consult your obstetrician prior to having dental treatment.
Do Not discontinue topical fluoride use during pregnancy.During pregnancy studies show it is safe to use topical fluoride rinses and toothpastes. This will help keep enamel healthy during pregnancy, which is especially useful if you are prone to morning sickness. Studies have shown that using topical fluoride is helpful, however taking a fluoride supplement is not necessary as it does not give any added benefit to mother or fetus.
Do Speak to your dentist and obstetrician about nutrition during pregnancy.Between morning sickness and pregnancy cravings be sure to speak to your health care providers about nutritious meals as well as what to avoid during pregnancy. From a dental standpoint I recommend that my patients continue using the natural sweetener xylitol. Xylitol is safe and may help with prevention of cavities as well. Also, another tip, if you are prone to morning sickness try rinsing with water and baking soda afterwards to help neutralize the acidity in your mouth prior to brushing your teeth. This will decrease your risk of enamel erosion.