As it is important to maintain one´s weight, do moderate exercise and have other general health care during pregnancy, dental care is also important.
Dr. Rafael Mejicano Diaz
Oral Prosthodontics Specialist
Centro Dental de Especialistas
MULTIMEDICA VISTA HERMOSA
At the time you become pregnant and after your first check-up with the gynecologist, it is important to consider a specific checkup for dental control during pregnancy. It would be ideal to consult your dentist before conceiving to make sure the gestation period is reached with your mouth in optimum conditions. If you are already pregnant and have not visited a dentist previously, do not delay your consultation. In general there is no problem with treating dental problems during pregnancy. Possibly the dentist will consider more appropriate to wait until the 4th month to perform some treatments, particularly if anesthesia or x-rays are required, do not forget to take this into account. Always visit your dentist so he/she can provide the best care to help keep your teeth and gums healthy during this period. It is also important to receive advice from the pediatric dentist, who will orient you in aspects such as the baby´s oral hygiene, eruption of the first teeth, the importance of breast feeding and the use of a pacifier and baby bottle.
Following are some of the most frequently asked questions about dental care during pregnancy.
¿Can oral health affect pregnancy?
There is increasing evidence that suggest a relationship between gum disease and premature births and babies born below the normal weight. Pregnancy is a very special period in the life of a woman; her body suffers a series of changes to create a new being. The oral cavity is not the exception; it is also affected during gestation, so these “extra” special cares should be taken:
- Correct oral hygiene
- Appropriate nutrition
- Visiting the dentist for control and adequate guidance.
An infection, in the oral cavity as in any other part of the body, is a risk factor for provoking a premature birth, with the consequences it implies for the baby´s health in general. Mouth infections that a pregnant woman should avoid are the following: caries, periodontitis (gum disease) and abscesses, among others.
¿Is it true that with each pregnancy teeth decay?
With hygiene and adequate oral control this is not true. What happens is that there tends to be a rise in the intake of sugary foods, eating between meals, all kinds of food (cravings), which results in the apparition of caries and gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis).
Taking into account that more than 80% of the population presents gum disease, this type of infection is transformed into one of the main risks of pregnancy.
¿How to know if you have a gum disease?
- Gums bleed when brushing
- Pus comes out of the gums
- Teeth start separating from each other
- Persistent bad breath
- Itching of the gums
- Red or swollen gums
- Gums that undergo retraction
¿What changes can be expected during pregnancy?
- If the person has good oral health surely she will have no problem.
- Gingivitis during pregnancy develops in areas where an infection previously existed.
- Gums become swollen, bleed during brushing and become red.
- If tartar is present, it acts as a local irritant that reacts violently against the organism. This is caused by the combination of hormonal changes and bucal microbes. This situation predisposes the production of changes that favor the development of microbes in the mouth, causing the pregnant woman´s mouth to decay, as popularly known.
- If gingivitis is not treated, it can have harmful effects on the gums and the bone around the teeth.
- Sometimes inflamed gums form enlargements that are called Pregnancy Epulis, which are an extreme reaction to the inflammation caused by microbes or food particles.