The Importance of Good Oral Health during Pregnancy

May 10, 2018

Springtime is in the air! We love spring here at Dental Care of Vashon all the flowers in bloom, birds chirping and the sun has made an appearance. When thinking of spring many think of new beginnings. The newest beginning we can think of here is pregnancy! We want to talk to our patients and inform them, on all there is to know about being a pregnant dental patient. There are a few misconceptions out there to clear up and we’ll discuss how and why good home care is especially important during pregnancy.

One of the biggest misconceptions involved with dental care during pregnancy is that restorative treatment and anesthetic are not safe. Receiving local anesthesia while you are pregnant does not pose a risk to you or your baby. At Dental Care of Vashon we recommend that restorative treatment should be done on areas that have decay. The reason, is that decay will only worsen over time and in the long run can cause the patient to have more discomfort and can even lead to more significant treatment(such as root canals, extractions etc). Most people know that additional x-ray exposure during pregnancy may be harmful. While this is true, there are certain instances where the benefit of taking x-rays outweighs the risk. X-rays are an important diagnostic tool for the dentist and if decay is visible orally we may recommend these images to see the extent of decay and provide the best possible treatment. If x-rays are recommended during your pregnancy, a lead thyroid and abdominal shield will be provided.

Preventive care at home and in cleanings are very important to all and any of our patients but the importance is magnified when you are pregnant. That being said pregnant woman may experience more bleeding and inflammation in their gums. There is usually no reason to be alarmed by this change. This is often due to hormonal changes that affect the bodies response to bacteria and initiate gingivitis. Good oral habits, brushing twice per day with a fluoride toothpaste and cleaning between the teeth daily with either floss or a water flosser is essential. Pregnant women are also at an increased risk for cavities due to diet changes such as increased snacking or more carbohydrates. The acidity caused by frequent vomiting also increases cavity risk. These factors make it that much more important to use fluoride toothpaste and mouthrinse to strengthen enamel.

A very important goal for at home care and routine hygiene visits it to prevent periodontal disease. Suffering from periodontal disease during pregnancy is known to have a negative impact on babies. Maternal periodontitis has been linked with preterm birth, low birth weight babies, low birth weight babies being born pre-maturely as well as developing preeclampsia during pregnancy. If you are diagnosed with periodontal disease during pregnancy it is important to follow the recommendation of your hygienist to have the disease treated before baby arrives.

As far as scheduling any treatment that may be needed, It is recommended during pregnancy to schedule appointments during the second trimester. The second trimester is best,because that is when the baby has had time to develop and the pregnant patient is still fairly comfortable. Of course her at Dental Care of Vashon we will treat each patient based on individual needs. If you have any questions please feel free to call and ask or bring your questions to your next dental visit.



Mouth Healthy

American Dental Association


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