Congratulations on your pregnancy! The next few months will be a whirlwind of activity – sharing the exciting news with your friends and family, picking out baby names, setting up the perfect nursery – and we’ve got one more task you should add to your to-do list. Get your teeth cleaned.
Before You Get Pregnant
Ideally, if you can, you should have your teeth professionally cleaned before you get pregnant. That way, your dentist can check for any decay or oral health problems that can be treated in advance of your pregnancy. Bacteria in your mouth can be directly transferred to your baby, so it’s important to have any issues taken care of before the baby begins growing.
During Your Pregnancy
For precautionary reasons, you should avoid any dental treatments during the first trimester and the second half of the third trimester if possible (barring an emergency). These are the critical times in your baby’s growth and development. However, you can receive dental treatment during the second trimester, although any elective dental pregnancies should be postponed until after your baby arrives.
Make sure to always tell your dentist (and any other doctors you visit!) that you’re pregnant, as well as inform them of any medication that you’re taking. They may alter your treatment plan accordingly. They’ll most certainly avoid taking any dental x-rays (again, barring an emergency).
Even though you and your dentist should be extra careful during your pregnancy, don’t skip the dentist altogether. Hormonal changes caused during pregnancy put you at risk for pregnancy gingivitis, tender gums that bleed easily. If you feel tenderness, swelling, or excessive bleeding of the gums, schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately.
Bacteria from your mouth can be transferred to your baby, so you want to keep your own mouth as clean as possible! Eat a healthy, balanced diet with as little sugar as possible to avoid tooth decay.
***If you suffer from morning sickness, the acid from being sick can be extra harmful to your teeth. Make sure to rinse your mouth out with water or mouthwash after each time you get sick. If brushing your teeth causes morning sickness, try switching to a bland-tasting toothpaste.
After Your Pregnancy
Continue with your regular dentist appointments and oral health routine. A healthy mouth for mom means a healthy mouth for baby. Research shows that cavities can be contagious, and the #1culprit for transferring bacteria to your baby’s mouth is the mother. Make sure to begin your child’s oral health routine from day 1, and follow these steps to avoid passing cavity-causing bacteria to your child.