Pregnancy is an exciting and transformative time. Congratulations! Expectant parents know there’s a seemingly endless list of things to do before the baby arrives. Unsurprisingly, taking care of your overall health is paramount during this time.
Not only is dental health integral to your full-body wellness, but it’s also affected by the body changes that accompany pregnancy. Furthermore, some dental health issues may impact the health of your pregnancy and your baby.
At Union Square Dental in the Flatiron District of Manhattan, New York, Kateryna Grytsenko, DDS, Yuliya Kanatova, DDS, and her team are here to make sure your dental health is one less thing you have to worry about during this incredible phase of your life. Here, we address the relationship between pregnancy and dental health and how to approach it during pregnancy.
How pregnancy affects dental health
It’s well known that pregnancy leads to hormonal changes that can cause a cascade of different effects in your body, even some that can seem strange and unrelated. These hormonal changes also affect oral and dental health. For instance, studies show that pregnant women carry a higher risk of developing periodontal disease.
You may also be more likely to develop cavities due to dietary changes and increased cravings for sugary and starchy foods. If you experience frequent morning sickness, your teeth are exposed to stomach acid, which wears away at the protective enamel.
Pro tip: After vomiting, immediately rinse your mouth with water and baking soda to neutralize your oral pH, but avoid brushing your teeth for 30 minutes.
While standard dental hygiene practices — brushing twice per day, flossing daily, and avoiding excessive sugar — can certainly help prevent cavities, it’s important to visit your dentist for a checkup as early as you can during your pregnancy to ensure you don’t have any problems that need addressing.
Dental health problems and pregnancy risks
Just as your overall health affects fetal development, your dental health can also impact your baby’s. The New York State Department of Health reports that oral bacteria associated with dental decay is transmissible from mother to child both during pregnancy and after birth.
Untreated dental issues in pregnant patients can lead to dental problems in your child’s future, and also may have adverse effects on your baby’s overall health and the birth process.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that periodontitis (gum disease) is associated with poor pregnancy outcomes, including preterm birth and low birth rate due to increased inflammation. The CDC also details that an estimated 60%-75% of pregnant women have gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease.
This emphasizes the importance of a checkup as soon as you can manage after learning that you’re expecting.
Safety of dental procedures during pregnancy
You can rest easy knowing that most dental procedures are completely safe to undergo during all three trimesters of pregnancy. We want to take care of necessary dental health treatments like dental cleanings and fillings as soon as possible to ensure you and your baby have the healthiest outcomes.
Even if you need something a little more complex, like a root canal or a tooth extraction, fear not. Local anesthetics are safe to use during pregnancy. If you need a digital X-ray, we properly protect you and your baby with leaded aprons. Let us know what medications you’re using so we can recommend the best treatments for you.
We’re here to answer any concerns or questions you may have regarding dental health before, during, and after pregnancy. To schedule your appointment, call us at 212-675-7877 or contact us through a secure online message.