How to take care of teeth for pregnant women

Dental care during pregnancy is one issue that raises many questions for pregnant women. What is the way to take care of and maintain the teeth during pregnancy? Is it safe to treat diseases of the teeth and gums in pregnant women? And what is the best time to do that? Does pregnancy affect dental health? All these questions and more will be answered in the following; We will mention the essential tips and guidelines to help pregnant women maintain oral and dental health during and after pregnancy.

A pregnant woman needs to take care of the health of her teeth and gums, As pregnancy causes many changes to her. The hormonal changes you are going through increase the risk of gum disease, which affects the fetus’s development and health. [1,2]

Dental care during pre-pregnancy

When a woman is planning or expecting a pregnancy soon, she should book an appointment with the dentist to have the teeth and gums examined and treated accurately and professionally. So that the doctor can treat any defect in the teeth before the start of pregnancy. [1]

How does pregnancy affect the health of the teeth and gums of a pregnant woman?

Changing hormones in a pregnant woman’s body affects her oral health. You may develop diseases such as gingivitis, and you may notice bleeding gums during pregnancy sometimes when brushing your teeth.

The risk of tooth decay also increases, due to several reasons, such as the increased desire of pregnant women to eat sugars and carbohydrates more than usual, and morning sickness increases the percentage of acids that the mouth is exposed to, which can lead to the erosion of the outer layer of the teeth.

Gum tissue may also be exposed to an acceleration in growth, which leads to its infection with tumors called pregnancy tumors (in English: Pregnancy Tumors). This often occurs in the second trimester of pregnancy. [3]

Is the dental treatment safe during pregnancy?

As mentioned earlier, there are question marks about dental treatment during pregnancy. Is it safe to do so? Will it have any adverse effect on fetal protection?

Preventive dental flossing and regular annual checkups during pregnancy are safe and recommended. Hormonal changes in a pregnant woman can cause swelling and bleeding in the gums, leading to irritation. Therefore, preventive dental treatment is essential to avoid mouth and gum infections associated with premature birth. [2]

Dental care for pregnant women

Pregnancy is divided into three sections, and in the following, we will mention the most significant dental care instructions in each trimester of pregnancy: [4]

The first trimester of pregnancy 

In the first trimester of pregnancy, it is recommended to visit the dentist to assess the health of the current pregnant woman’s teeth, inform her of the changes you should expect during pregnancy, and how to avoid dental and gum problems that may result from those changes. But it is worth noting that it is not recommended to perform any operations related to the teeth and gums during this stage of pregnancy. The fetus is in the formative stage, making it at greater risk of malformations or congenital disabilities.

Here are the latest recommendations for dental care in the first trimester of pregnancy :

  • Educate patients about changes related to oral health that occur during pregnancy.
  • Emphasize strict instructions regarding dental hygiene and cleaning.
  • Limit any dental and gum treatment as much as possible, except in the case of preventive medicine or emergencies.
  • Avoid having routine x-rays unless it is urgently needed.

In the second trimester of pregnancy 

The fetus’s organs have been completed by entering the pregnant woman in the second trimester of pregnancy, and the risk of congenital malformations is reduced. Also, the size of the fetus has not yet grown to an uncomfortable height for the mother, which makes it difficult for the mother to lie down for long periods.

The following are the most important recommendations for dental care during this stage:

  • Emphasis on the instructions to maintain the cleanliness and health of the mouth and teeth.
  • The need to control oral and dental diseases, if any.
  • Elective dental procedures can be done and are considered safe at this stage of pregnancy.
  • Avoid routine x-rays unless needed.

In the third trimester of pregnancy

Fetal development continues into the third trimester of pregnancy. The focus of attention becomes concerned with the risks of upcoming delivery and ensuring the comfort and safety of the mother. Routine dental treatment is safe in the early part of this stage but should be avoided starting in the middle of the third trimester.

Here are the most important recommendations for dental care and treatment at this stage of pregnancy:

  • Emphasis on the instructions to maintain the cleanliness and health of the mouth and teeth.
  • Avoid doing elective dental procedures during the second half of this stage of pregnancy.
  • Avoid routine x-rays unless needed.

What are the essential tips for pregnant women to maintain oral and dental health?

Among the essential tips that are offered to facilitate dental care for pregnant women are the following: [5]

  • Brush your teeth well at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste.
  • Dental flossing once daily.
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet and avoid foods rich in sugars and carbohydrates.
  • Visit your dentist regularly during pregnancy to monitor and evaluate your oral health.
  • Suppose a pregnant woman suffers from morning sickness and vomiting continuously. In that case, it is a good idea to rinse the mouth and rinse with a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate with water to protect the teeth from being damaged by stomach acids.

In sum, there is no doubt that pregnancy is a unique stage in which a woman goes through many changes so that her body can play its role in supporting the formation and growth of her fetus; Therefore, this stage requires excellent attention from the mother to her health to be able to maintain the health and safety of the fetus. Oral and dental health care should receive part of that attention because of its significant impact on the safety of the mother and fetus.

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