One of the most common side effects of pregnancy on dental health is pregnancy gingivitis. This is inflammation and bleeding of the gums caused by elevated levels of pregnancy hormones.
Dental care during pregnancy
It is crucial to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing even though the gums are swollen and sore.
Pregnancy gingivitis is generally most severe in the latter part of the pregnancy and diminishes during the ninth month. Tumours can sometimes develop from sore gums they are usually harmless and require no intervention unless they are uncomfortable or inhibit speech.
Research supports a ban on X-rays during pregnancy except in emergencies, when they may be necessary to diagnose infections, which can spread and complicate a pregnancy if left untreated. Antibiotics such as Tetracycline, and painkillers such as Aspirin and Ibuprofen should be avoided although Penicillin, Amoxicillin and Tylenol may be used after consultation with the attending obstetrician.
In general, elective dental treatment should be postponed until after child birth although necessary treatment such as broken teeth and fillings or cavities are best treated during the second trimester.
When planning a family, pre-pregnancy checkups and X-rays are essential, as any treatment diagnosed can then be performed prior to the onset of pregnancy. This will also provide a foundation for maintenance care during pregnancy.