Going To The Dentist While Pregnant

Congratulations, you’re expecting! What a great reason to smile!

But what can you expect with your oral health during these nine months? There are many changes that can occur with your teeth and surrounding gums during pregnancy due to hormonal changes.

Your Dental Habits Affect Your Child

As your baby grows, so does the importance of good oral hygiene. Women are more likely to develop gingivitis (infection of the gums) during pregnancy. Gingivitis may present as swelling, redness, tenderness and bleeding of the gum tissues. This is not a good time to miss your dentist appointment! You should continue to see your dentist during pregnancy for oral examinations and professional cleanings. Untreated dental disease and infection can be very harmful to you and your child.

Special Considerations for Pregnant Patients

When you visit the dentist, make sure to tell him/her of your pregnancy, any changes in your dental health and overall health (including any medications you may be taking). Although radiographs may be delayed until after your child is born, sometimes the dentist may need an x-ray as part of your dental treatment. To minimize you and your child’s exposure to radiation, the dentist will cover your abdomen with a protective apron and thyroid collar over your throat.

But I Have to Eat!!!

Frequent snacking during pregnancy may also increase your risk of developing cavities. It is important to brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss in-between your teeth, and use a fluoride mouthrinse before bedtime. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will also help fight cavities and gum disease.

Most importantly, enjoy this special time in your life. Before you know it, your little one will be teething and chewing on everything!

By establishing healthy habits and setting a good example, your child will benefit and learn from the most important teacher in the world…you!

And when it’s time, we hope to see your little one for their first dental visit around age 1.

CC Photo Credit: bettina n on Flickr

Elizabeth Cook Miller, D.D.S., M.S. is a pediatric dentist at Atkins, Maestrello, Miller & Associates Pediatric Dentistry in Richmond, VA. She is a new mother, active runner and her favorite movie is "Finding Nemo".

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