What to Expect for Your Oral Health When You’re Expecting

May is a celebration of moms in more ways than one – in addition to Mother’s Day, it’s also Pregnancy Awareness Month. At first glance, it may not seem like oral health has much to do with pregnancy, but it’s actually a critical part of it. A mother’s oral health can be correlated with the baby’s overall health, so it’s important to pay close attention to your dental care and any changes that may arise while you’re pregnant.1 What kind of changes? We’ve got the answer to that and a few other common questions about oral health during pregnancy.

Can I get X-rays while pregnant?
Probably. According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s highly unlikely that a diagnostic X-ray would harm a developing baby. The exception is abdominal X-rays (even then, the risk is low),2 but your dentist won’t need those. Even so, be sure to tell your dentist and hygienist that you’re expecting so they can take the necessary precautions. The safest time to get X-rays or other dental procedures is during the second trimester.3

Is it safe to get dental treatments that require anesthesia?
Yes, a 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association determined4 that there was no risk to receiving local anesthesia during pregnancy. It’s an important find because some pregnant women avoid dental procedures for nine months, even if they experience pain or the oral health issue is affecting their health. There’s no need to – get dental issues treated, for your health and your baby’s!

Should I do anything differently, oral health-wise, when I’m expecting?
It seems like everything about your health and body is different during pregnancy, and your mouth is no exception. An abundance of estrogen and progesterone1 are the culprits behind many of those changes, including sensitive gum tissue. Some women can be affected by pregnancy gingivitis, characterized by redness, swelling, tenderness and bleeding. Fight plaque build-up by brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily, paying special attention to the gum line.2

Do my dental benefits change?
Some dental plans may provide enhanced benefits for pregnant women, like extra cleanings, which help prevent and treat conditions like pregnancy gingivitis. Check to see if your plan offers enhanced benefits.

If you have other questions or concerns about dental care or treatment while you’re expecting, be sure to talk with your dentist. It’s also a great time to ask any questions you may have about your baby’s oral health care.

1 http://oralhealth.deltadental.com/Search/22,DD36
2http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/expert-answers/x-ray-during-pregnancy/faq-20058264
3http://oralhealth.deltadental.com/Search/22,DD123
4http://www.ada.org/en/press-room/news-releases/2015-archive/august/new-study-shows-dental-treatment-during-pregnancy-is-safe


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