Like we often say, pregnancy is accompanied by many changes in a pregnant woman’s body. The mouth and teeth are no different. Many mothers will have nausea, reflux and/or vomiting due to hormonal changes. This means that they will have more acidity in their mouth, which may damage the surface of their teeth, leading to an increased risk of cavities. Additionally, many women will have an increased appetite, will snack on things that may be sweeter. Together with an increased blood volume, this can promote pregnancy gingivitis and cavities.
In this article:
- Oral hygiene during pregnancy
- Babies born with one tooth
There are many myths and realities circulating about dental care and pregnancy, and that is why I think it is essential to talk about it in this article. With the help of theoretical best practices guides and expert advice from a dentist, I hope to provide a scientific yet practical examination of oral hygiene during pregnancy.
First, it’s wrong to say that if a future mother doesn’t consume enough calcium during her pregnancy, her teeth will decalcify or fall out. If there is a deficiency, it’s the mother’s bones that will compensate for it. Which is not better. That is why it’s essential to eat foods with calcium every day. This helps forms the baby’s bones and teeth without having to rely on the mother’s structures to meet its needs.
There is also information circulating that talks about the danger of dental care during pregnancy and breastfeeding. In fact, there is no reason not to get dental care during pregnancy. However, your dentist may choose to use specific medications (local anesthesia, antibiotics) based on your situation. It’s a question of good judgement by your health professional dealing with your dental condition. A pregnant woman can get any dental treatment, even a root canal is necessary, and it’s an emergency. When the benefits are higher than the costs, it preferable to act.
There are no risks to fillings for a pregnant woman as long as:
- Routine x-rays are only used in emergency situations. The use of digital technologies and most dental offices makes x-rays even more safe for diagnostical purposes. Where possible, x-rays should not be used during the first trimester given the embryo’s rapid cell development and sensitivity to radiation. If the woman needs an emergency x-ray, a lead apron should cover her body to reduce the exposure to radiation.
- The filling used should not contain mercury because the metal will circulate in her body all the way to the baby. Even if low levels of exposure won’t harm the general population’s health (low dosage), Health Canada suggests using a composite (non-metallic filling) that doesn’t contain mercury. Additionally, Canadian environmental policies suggest reducing the use of mercury in all products to reduce overall exposure. In many countries around the world, products containing mercury are already banned. This includes Germany, Denmark and Sweden, to name just a few.
- Changing a filling during pregnancy is not necessary unless there is a specific problem identified.
- Local anesthesia used during a dental procedure is not a risk for the mother or baby. The dentist will make the appropriate choice of medication for both of you. The use of antibiotics may be necessary to treat an oral infection and is not dangerous for your pregnancy. Ideally, tooth repair should take place during the 2nd trimester. This is to avoid increased nausea (first trimester) and vagal response (laying on her back, drop in blood pressure during the last trimester). She may also have physical discomfort during the 3rd trimester, and stress should be avoided, which may trigger premature contractions.
To better understand oral hygiene during pregnancy, please read Oral Hygiene During Pregnancy.
Pour mieux comprendre l’hygiène buccale dans le contexte de la grossesse, lisez le billet L’hygiène buccale pendant la grossesse