Becoming pregnant is an exciting time in a woman’s life. However, you may be feeling somewhat anxious when it comes to keeping your baby as safe and as healthy as possible.
- What kinds of things can you do?
- What foods should you or shouldn’t you eat?
These questions are amongst hundreds of others that may be running through your head.
One question that many women ask is if dental work and dental x-rays are safe during pregnancy. As a dentist who has been working for more than 20 years and as a mother myself, it’s my goal to educate women on dental health during their pregnancy and address any safety risks that they may be facing.
Dental Work During Pregnancy
Many expecting mothers have questions and concerns about scheduling dental work during this time. Due to rising hormone levels during pregnancy, women are more susceptible to periodontal issues such as gingivitis or gum disease.
Gum disease while pregnant has been linked to cause complications that can include premature birth and because of this it’s highly recommended that you visit your dentist for scheduled exams and preventative dental cleanings.
If you need more invasive dental work during your pregnancy such as cavity fillings or crowns, you should be treated to reduce the risk of developing an infection. It’s ideal to have this done during your second trimester as it may be difficult to lie on your back later in your pregnancy.
If you are worried about potential complications, you should discuss with your dentist whether or not you can postpone any unnecessary dental work until after you give birth.
Any cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening should be postponed until after you give birth to avoid exposing your developing baby to any risks, even if they are minimal.
However, if you do find yourself in a dental emergency situation such as a root canal, you may need to have dental work done regardless.
Are Dental X-Rays Safe?
Dental x-rays are often a source of concern for pregnant women as well. The largest risk of receiving dental x-rays during your pregnancy is exposing your baby to radiation. This can be scary and it’s normal to take precautions if you need any diagnostic x-rays done.
However, the routine x-rays taken during annual exams are considered safe with appropriate shielding. You can have your dental x-rays postponed until after the birth of your baby, but if you need any dental procedures done or have a dental emergency, x-rays will be necessary.
The amount of radiation exposure during a dental x-ray is very low, and not near enough to be harmful to your baby. Just make sure you wear a leaded apron to protect your abdomen and minimize any radiation exposure to your baby.
Oral Care Routine
Finally, it’s important that you keep up with a good dental care routine during your pregnancy to prevent gum disease and other oral issues.
Your daily routine should include:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day
- Flossing at least once a day
- Rinsing your mouth with an antimicrobial mouthwash.
Your diet will also be important in keeping your teeth and gums healthy during your pregnancy. Stay away from sugary foods and drinks and keep your diet well-balanced.
Try to incorporate the following foods into your diet:
- Lean proteins
- Whole grains
Staying away from sugary foods and instead replacing them with healthy alternatives will help prevent tooth decay and gum disease. This will keep you and your baby healthy.
Expecting mothers have a lot to worry about as they prepare to bring a new life into this world. It can be stressful knowing what’s safe and what isn’t for you and your baby, especially when it comes to dental care.
Pregnant women do have a greater chance of developing gum disease which can result in premature births, so it’s important to be educated on how to take care of your teeth and gums. That’s why it’s my goal to help future mothers be as healthy as they can be for themselves and their future little one.
Author Bio: Dr. Amanda Tavoularis has been committed to excellent dentistry for over 20 years. She studied at the University of Washington School of Dentistry and has gone on to complete over 200 hours of study at the prestigious Kois Center located in Seattle. She belongs to numerous dentistry networks include the American Dental Association and the Wellness Dentistry Network. With being a female dentist on the Dentably team, Dr. Amanda can provide her expertise for dental care for women as well as expecting mothers. She has a son of her own and is committed to providing the most accurate information possible for patients.