November 02, 2017. By CFA.
One of our mantras is to “prepare your body for baby” when you’re trying to conceive, and that means observing good oral care practices as well. The hormones produced when you’re pregnant affect every tissue in your body – including your gums. So, promoting healthy teeth and gums while trying to conceive will help to pave the way for healthy teeth and gums once you’re pregnant.
Prioritizing Your Teeth is Good for Both You and Baby
When it comes to diet, lifestyle practices and oral care – we recommend you treat your body as if it’s pregnant as much as possible. Most importantly, a healthy body is a better environment in which to grown and nurture a baby. However, there are other reasons oral health is so important when trying to conceive and when pregnant.
The American Dental Association says, “The American Dental Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics all encourage women to get dental care while pregnant.”
Your dentist and the staff will take extra precautions
Let your dentist and staff know whenever you are trying to get pregnant, are pregnant and/or are abstaining from the use of birth control. Since many women are pregnant from 4 to 6 weeks before they know they’re pregnant, dentists like to err on the side of caution if there’s any chance you may be expecting. At the very least, they will use extra precautions if you require x-rays – protecting the baby from radiation exposure.
Consider changing your appointment
If one of your bi-annual dental visits falls towards the latter-stage of your pregnancy, it’s wise to reschedule it for a more immediate date. Your dentist will want to see you in the first few months to get an idea of where you’re at in terms of dental health. If you have pregnancy gingivitis (more on that next) it’s best to identify it on the sooner end, before it causes more serious tooth decay or other complications.
If you need dental work performed, it will be more comfortable for you to do so before your belly is larger – when it’s more difficult to sit in a chair, in one position, for any length of time.
Be prepared for more tender, swollen or bleeding gums
As mentioned above, the hormones involved with pregnancy change more than just your uterus and your abdomen. In the case of your mouth, increased estrogen levels make you more prone to inflammation of the gums – dubbed “pregnancy gingivitis.” If left untreated, pregnancy gingivitis makes you more prone to further dental issues.
This is a good time to cut out sweets, eat well and really observe the “brushing and flossing” routine both morning and night. If you show signs of pregnancy gingivitis, the dentist may recommend adding an additional round of brushing/flossing in the middle.
Get dental work you need now rather than when pregnant
The good news is that local anesthetics pose no threat to you or baby. However, some of the more major dental work requires general anesthetic, which is typically avoided unless necessary once you are pregnant.
Attending to any fillings, root canals, or more major dental work before conceiving spares you having to finagle another appointment or two into the calendar once you’re pregnant – and already booked up with prenatal appointments with your OB or fertility specialist.
Has your trying to conceive window been open for too long? Contact us here at Columbia Fertility Associates and schedule a consultation.