Hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect many parts of your body, including your teeth and gums. Looking after your oral health is always important, but it's even more vital during pregnancy, which increases risk factors for dental disease and associated health problems.
You should keep up with your regular dental check-ups through your pregnancy. Your dentist might even recommend increasing your visiting frequency if they want to monitor an ongoing oral health issue and help you to lower health risks for you and your baby.
How can pregnancy affect teeth?
The old wives' tale that you lose a tooth for every baby isn't true, but pregnancy hormones can increase your risk of developing some dental problems, such as gum disease. This is because more blood is now flowing to your gums and your body reacts to plaque (bacteria) on your teeth in different ways.
If you have an existing dental problem such as a cavity, infection or impacted wisdom tooth (tooth stuck inside the gum), swelling gums could turn these into serious and painful problems. So it's important to seek your dentist's advice before, during and after your pregnancy.
If you're planning to get pregnant, you should schedule a dental appointment for a check-up and teeth cleaning, even if it hasn't been that long since your last visit.
If you've been putting off treatments you need, such as root canal therapy or wisdom teeth removal, your dentist will recommend taking care of these now. This will lower the risk of you developing a problem and needing urgent treatment during your pregnancy, which should ideally be avoided.
If you find out that you're pregnant, and you didn't already visit your dentist for a pre-pregnancy check-up, you should make an appointment as soon as is convenient. They can check your teeth and gums for any signs of problems and recommend any non-invasive treatments they think you could benefit from.
Dental procedures should be avoided if possible during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. If a treatment is urgently needed, your dentist will take extra precautions with aspects such as x-rays and anaesthesia to minimise the risks to your child.
Dental problems related to pregnancy don't always go away on their own after you've given birth. If you struggled with gum disease or another issue while pregnant, you should schedule another check-up so your dentist can monitor your progress and offer any advice or treatments they think you could benefit from.
Some untreated dental problems are linked to general health problems that could also affect your baby through breastfeeding, so it's important to keep up with your scheduled dental visits after giving birth – even though life might be a lot busier now!
Talk to a dentist in Auckland
Whether you're planning to get pregnant or you just need some advice, our friendly team at St Heliers Dental Centre is here to help. Call (09) 575 5814 to speak to a dentist in Auckland today or book online.