Most pregnant moms have a healthy pregnancy with no dental issues all through their pregnancy.

When you are pregnant, it is important to take good care of your body. Your gums and teeth are a part of this. An essential part of a successful pregnancy is having a healthy mouth and good dental hygiene.

Your teeth and gums can remain healthy with regular brushing and proper flossing. Good nutrition is another key to a healthy mouth. Therefore, ensure you have a balanced, nutrient-rich diet and receive adequate vitamins and minerals.

These practices are also important for your infant since baby teeth form before birth; hence, a child’s oral health begins with the mother’s healthy pregnancy.

Changes during pregnancy?

Most pregnancies have no complications; however, pregnancy can cause changes in

 the cardiovascular, respiratory, and gastrointestinal systems, as well as the oral cavity, and increased probability of oral infection. Hence it can be typical for your mouth to undergo some changes during pregnancy.

The blood flow to the mouth and gum mucous tissues increases during pregnancy. When you brush and floss your teeth, this could make your gums bleed. For instance, some women experience “pregnancy gingivitis,” a gum inflammation that can result in discomfort and swelling. Occasionally bleeding gums can occur when you brush or floss. Gingivitis can develop into a more serious type of gum disease( periodontitis)  if it is not addressed. To avoid this, your dentist may advise scheduling cleanings more frequently. Proper brushing and flossing techniques can help the problem. These changes( hormonal gingivitis) usually disappear about 6 months after a baby is born.

Having perfect oral hygiene will minimize all gum issues during pregnancy. The hormonal change is unavoidable, but oral hygiene is in our hands to perfect.

Pregnant women can be susceptible to postural hypotension during pregnancy due to the increase in blood flow in the body. This means that a sudden change of position from sitting to standing can cause Low blood pressure and dizziness. So these movements or changes of a patient’s position from retroclined to proclined should be done very slowly so the body can adjust to the change of position without dropping the blood pressure.

In later months of pregnancy, especially the last three months, due to pressure on all the systems in the mom’s body, the supine position can cause ‘supine hypotensive syndrome.’ In this situation, mom feels dizzy, and pressure will drop due to pressure to a vena cava vein. If mom rolls to her left side, the situation will be resolved in these situations. When a pregnant woman has a large belly, it is recommended not to put her in a very flat position to avoid this syndrome.

During pregnancy, there is a chance of increasing of stomach acid. In case of having morning sickness or reflux, the acidity can create some decay during pregnancy. Therefore there will be more chance of Cavities. Regular brushing is beneficial. You could also rinse your mouth out. Consider mixing 1/2 tsp of baking soda with 1 cup (250 mL) of water. And rinse your mouth several times during the day, especially after throwing up. You might also need to discuss the acidity issues with your family doctor to manage the condition.

When to Tell Your Dentist You Are Pregnant?
Inform your dentist’s office of your pregnancy, even if you merely suspect it. When you schedule your appointment, let them know how far along you are. Tell your dentist about any medications you are taking and if there are any specific instructions your doctor has given you. Your dentist and doctor may advise delaying some treatments if your pregnancy is high-risk or if you have specific medical issues.

Using fluoride during pregnancy
Fluoride therapy may be needed for patients with severe morning sickness followed by throwing up or in pregnant patients with gastric reflux. Vomiting and acid reflux can cause enamel erosion ( resolving the enamel and removing the tooth’s enamel layer and exposing the tooth’s second layer, called dentin). In these cases, fluoride therapy and restorations to cover the exposed dentin can reduce the sensitivity and prevent/ reduce harm to the dentition. There are different types of fluoride, mouthwash, gel, and varnish.

Topical fluoride gel might cause nausea, so applying fluoride varnish will be a better option to tolerate.

Local Anesthetics During Pregnancy
Local Anesthetics Local anesthetics are relatively safe when administered properly and in the correct amounts. Lidocaine with epinephrine 1/ 100 000  can be safe to use during pregnancy if it is administered in the lowest dose needed and with a safe aspiration technique.

Dental X-Rays During Pregnancy
According to the Canadian dental association:
X-Rays and the Pregnant Patient Elective procedures may be deferred until after the pregnancy. Pregnant patients requiring essential and/or emergency treatment should receive the minimum number of radiographs needed for diagnostic purposes.

Since the X-rays became digital, low radiation doses make it safe to have x rays during pregnancy. However, I believe that taking an x-ray for a pregnant woman should be done only in case of emergencies while covering the abdominal part with a lead apron.

Changes in the respiratory system
Due to hormonal changes, there will be changes in oral and nasal mucosa during pregnancy. These changes can cause edema and nasal congestion. IN this situation, breathing through the nose becomes difficult, and there is a higher tendency to breathe with an open mouth at night. Due to mouth breathing, the mouth becomes dry, and the patient will be more susceptible to decay since the patient will lose the protection of saliva covering teeth. Patients experiencing these problems, especially those with a high caries rate, should be supervised and treated by their dentist before and during pregnancy.

Are dental examinations and cleanings safe while pregnant?
Recall appointments, including exam and cleaning while pregnant, is safe and highly advisable. On these appointments, you can ask any questions you might have, and you can discuss the best times for routine cleanings, comprehensive exams, and other dental work with your dentist. For instance, your dentist might recommend you rinse your mouth with baking soda rinse (1/2 of a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water) in case you have morning sickness.

How to take care of your gums and teeth during pregnancy?
Get a consult before pregnancy from your dentist and get all necessary treatments in your mouth to avoid any emergencies during pregnancy.

  • You need to brush your teeth twice a day, especially before bed.
  • You need to floss once a day.
  • Use toothpaste with fluoride to help prevent cavities.
  • Use a soft brush and a long time of brushing
  • Use the same soft brush to brush your tongue
  • Have a balanced diet to keep your teeth strong and your gums healthy. Avoid acidic food that can cause more decay, such as carbonated drinks, sugar, and acidic foods.
  • Pick tooth-friendly foods, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, cheese, and nuts.
  • Eat less of the foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrate.
  • If you have morning sickness or reflux, rinse your mouth with a baking soda rinse several times a day.
  • Book your recall/cleaning appointments and exams every 3 months during pregnancy.
  • Contact your dentist in case you have any concerns.

Pregnancy and oral health