Pregnancy and your Oral Health Image

26 AUGUST 2019

Pregnancy and your Oral Health

Pregnancy and Your Regular Dental Visits

Regular dental check-ups shouldn’t stop just because you're pregnant. In truth, pregnant women are at higher risk of developing a range of dental issues, so we’ve separated fact from fiction on pregnancy and your oral health.

A 2016 study by the Australian Dental Association revealed that more than half of Australian women surveyed (53.7%) shared the belief that visiting the dentist while pregnant can be harmful to you or your baby.[1] This can be a serious problem if it means you avoid seeing your dentist and aren’t getting the care you need.

Just like the rest of your body, your teeth, gums and mouth are affected by hormonal changes during pregnancy. Your dentist should be on your list of health professionals to consult whether you’re planning to get pregnant in the future or are already on the journey to motherhood.

Hormonal changes will mean that your gums are more susceptible to inflammation and infection, so your twice daily brush and floss routine has never been so important.

You might also be dealing with other pregnancy symptoms, such as food cravings or morning sickness. Try and be mindful of sugary craving snacks, which may increase your risk of tooth decay. If morning sickness has you hanging over the toilet bowl, be aware that vomit is extremely acidic. The Australian Dental Association recommends not brushing your teeth at least one hour after vomiting, and instead, rinse your mouth with an alcohol-free fluoride mouth rinse, or chew sugar-free gum [2].

Can I go to the dentist while pregnant?

Your dental health has a big impact on your overall health, which means it can have a big influence on your baby too. Leaving tooth decay, gum disease and other oral health problems untreated can be harmful.

Your dentist may recommend making several appointments during your pregnancy to check the condition of your teeth and gums, recommend adjustments to your oral care routine or carry out any treatments needed.

If you're planning to get pregnant soon, it's a good idea to consult your dentist and have any outstanding dental issues addressed. Having a healthy mouth before you plan to get pregnant is the best way to continue easy dental visits through your pregnancy.

Are x-rays safe?

One of the most common concerns people have about visiting the dentist while pregnant is being exposed to radiation from x-rays. The truth is that you are exposed to far more radiation on a single domestic plane flight than from a dental x-ray! [2]

Although modern x-rays are safe, your dentist may avoid them if you're only having a routine check-up. However if you are experiencing a dental emergency, or unknown pain, you may need x-rays to help your dentist plan your treatment effectively.

Can I get a tooth pulled when pregnant?

Extractions are a last resort for dentists, who will always try to save the tooth if they can. However, if your tooth cannot be repaired, it may put your oral health at risk and your dentist may choose to remove it.

If you need to have a dental procedure while pregnant, anaesthetic can still be used safely to help you relax and numb the pain. It's essential that you inform your dentist about your pregnancy so they can choose suitable anaesthetics and set appropriate levels.

Can I whiten my teeth while pregnant?

Teeth whitening can be performed while you're pregnant, but your dentist may recommend waiting until after the birth for most non-emergency or cosmetic dental treatments.

The best dental advice for pregnant mums? Keep your teeth and gums healthy and book your regular check-up to ensure the first smile that baby sees is a healthy smile.

Book an appointment with your dentist today.

[1] Australian Dental Association. Dental Health Week - pregnant women urged to look after oral health. [Online] 2016 Available from: www.ada.org.au
[2] Australian Dental Association. Pregnancy – Separating Fact from Fiction. 2016 Available from: www.ada.org.au