Pregnancy generates a series of changes in the oral cavity that may cause a lot of discomfort. Although it is a myth, many of our patients believe that “For every pregnancy a tooth is lost” and it is our duty as dental health professionals to provide information to expectant mothers in order to remove that belief once and for all.
Cavities and peridontitis (disease of the gums and the bone surrounding the tooth) are two diseases that are caused by an INBALANCE of the oral microbiome. Under normal conditions, the bacteria of the oral cavity coexist in harmony but when there is no good oral hygiene and products are consumed with excess free sugars that balance is broken and the disease begins.
In pregnant women there are also added factors, such as vomiting or hormonal alteration that aggravate this imbalance. It is very probable that the gums will become inflamed, that they will bleed, that there will be dental sensitivity and that the risk of caries will increase.
There is scientific evidence that relates periodontitis in pregnant women with complications of childbirth (low birth weight, premature births and gestational diabetes) so the problem is not limited to the mother’s mouth but has an impact on the health of her baby.
Dental visits during pregnancy play an important role in this, or even more important when planning to be pregnant. The dentist will check the state of the gums and teeth and will provide information for the care of both the mother’s and the baby’s mouth.
If any injury or pathology is detected, there are no contraindications for treatment during pregnancy. All dental procedures are safe: The application of local anesthesia, fillings, cleanings, etc. can be done in any trimester of pregnancy. X-rays can even be taken (those strictly necessary) with due protection to the mother-to-be.
If you are thinking of becoming pregnant, do not hesitate to ask for a visit with your dentist for a rigorous evaluation of the state of your teeth and gums. If you are pregnant, include a visit to the dentist as part of your plan of care.
We understand that doubts or problems can arise when thinking about visiting the dentist. Many of our patients do not see the need because they are “fine” or out of fear, or financial problems; they also find that some dentists suggest delaying dental treatment. It is our duty as health professionals to provide all the information and carry out the pertinent treatments to maintain the oral health of the pregnant woman.
Dr. Yndira González
- Komine-Aizawa S, et al.J. Obstet. Gynaecol. Res, 45,(1): 5–12, 2019 .
- Hartnett E, et al. J Obstet Gynecol & Neonatal Nursing, 45, (4): 565 – 573, 2016
- Perinatal Oral Health Guidelines: https://www.cdafoundation.org/Portals/0/pdfs/poh_guidelines.pdf