The Importance of Visiting the Dentist While Pregnant

As most any pregnant woman will attest, there’s likely no other time when others — family, friends, and strangers — feel obligated to shower you with advice. It just keeps coming and coming, making it difficult to separate fact from fiction.

Like this wives’ tale gem from way back: It’s typical to lose a tooth for every pregnancy. As the myth goes, a woman’s unborn baby can “steal” Mamma’s calcium to develop her own healthy bones and teeth. Don’t worry, it’s totally false. At Surf City Dental, we’ve heard them all, and we’re working to put you at ease if you’re expecting!

Fact is, hormonal changes during pregnancy can exacerbate or create some common dental conditions. But with routine dental care and a few minor lifestyle adjustments, mothers-to-be can maintain great oral health, while getting their babies off to a strong start. So make sure to visit the dentist while pregnant.

“Our team at Surf City Dental understands that moms-to-be have a lot on their minds,” said Dr. Matthew Parr, D.D.S. and owner of Surf City Dental. “We get this, and we’re here to guide them through stress free dental care. It’s our job to make sure nothing goes unchecked.”

So, what are some of the more common oral health conditions pregnant women might face? Well, Pregnancy Gingivitis and tooth decay top the list.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 60 to 75 percent of expecting moms experience Pregnancy Gingivitis, which is an inflammation of the gums.

“Unfortunately, with hormonal changes come a lot of unwanted effects,” Dr. Parr said. “These changes can cause gums to hurt, swell and become very tender. We want to limit the discomfort every step of the way, so putting together a treatment plan for those 9 months or so is crucial. It’s all about maintaining good oral hygiene.”

Dr. Parr pointed out that pregnancy also can lead to tooth decay. He explained that while it can stem from several factors, including extra carbohydrates (which convert to sugar), one cause tops them all.

“Morning sickness is a big, big issue,” he said. “It causes tooth decay, acid erosion and weakens enamel. We recommend oral rinses before brushing to help reduce the chances.”

Dr. Parr noted that there are other conditions that could arise, and Surf City Dental is at the ready to address the issue and alleviate anxiety.

For some women, pregnancy tumors (overgrowths of tissue) appear on the gums, usually during the second trimester. These non-cancerous growths — attributed to excess plaque —often appear between the teeth and normally disappear after the baby is born.

“The key is to be proactive,” Dr. Parr said. “There are instances where oral hygiene is neglected during pregnancy, and that’s when things can deteriorate.”

In more serious cases, it has been associated with premature delivery, intrauterine growth restriction, gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). It’s why we recommend vising the dentist while pregnant.

“It’s no secret your body is going through a lot, so certain changes just have to be considered,” Dr. Parr said. “This includes some dietary adjustments, but we also recommend increased dental visits. Generally, we want one extra treatment over the course of pregnancy. Our goal is to help our expecting patients stay in control of their oral health so they can enjoy the motherhood experience.”

Extra Pointers! Before Your Appointment, Let Your Surf City Dental Team Know:

  • Even if you only suspect you are pregnant
  • How far along you are in the pregnancy
  • If you’re taking any medications
  • If you’ve received any special advice from your physician