Pregnancy contributes to a carefree diet, poor oral hygiene, hormonal changes, increased blood circulation. Oral problems, like toothache, sensitivity, and gum problems, are at a rise during pregnancy.
Teeth cleaning is a vital part of oral hygiene and is safe during pregnancy.
It involves the removal of dental plaque and hardened tartar from teeth to help prevent tooth caries, gingivitis, and other periodontal diseases.
Having bad tooth infection or excessive plaque deposits can risk spreading of infection from mouth to other parts of the body.
Thus, measures should be taken at the earliest for teeth cleaning and oral health maintenance.
This article gives you all the tips of teeth cleaning and oral care before and during pregnancy.
What is teeth cleaning and how is it done?
Teeth cleaning is known as a prophylactic procedure which helps to lower the risk of other disease conditions.
It is a procedure for the removal of tartar (mineralized plaque) that may develop even after careful brushing, especially in areas that are difficult to reach in routine tooth brushing.
Brushing and flossing curb plaque from building up and hardening into tartar. But once you have tartar, you can only have it removed at your dentist’s office through teeth cleaning, also known as scaling.
Teeth cleaning is done by using a small mirror to guide and scalers to get rid of plaque and tartar around your gum line and in between your teeth. Scalers scrape off the tartar from the surface of the teeth.
After your teeth are entirely tartar-free, the dentist brushes them with a high-powered electric brush. It is a great way to get a deep clean mouth and remove any tartar left behind from the scaler.
Why is it essential to get your teeth cleaned during pregnancy?
Pregnant women are prone to inflammation of gums which can cause severe issues if left untreated.
Poor dental health, hormonal changes, and certain medications during pregnancy can lead to severe periodontal diseases. (2)
Dental caries also become prevalent due to bacteria accumulating on the swollen gums and due to increased sweet food cravings.
Also, frequent vomiting due to severe morning sickness can cause acid erosion of the teeth. Pregnant patients may also have a hard time brushing due to a strong gag reflex.
All these conditions increase the plaque deposits on teeth. These deposits can grow if not treated on time, and the bacteria can get to the bloodstream.
During pregnancy, your baby gets fed through your blood and having infected blood could result in severe problems for your baby’s health.
That’s the primordial reason for taking better care of your teeth during those months than in any other moment of your life. Getting teeth cleaning is by far the best way to prevent gum disease. (3)
Points to consider before you get pregnant
If you are planning a family, you should consider visiting a dentist once before getting pregnant. The dentist can clean your teeth in advance, examine your gums and address any other oral health problems, if present.
This relieves off much stress of dental visits during your pregnant months and makes oral hygiene maintenance effective. (4)
Is it safe to have your teeth cleaned during pregnancy?
Old wives’ used to say that going to the dentist during pregnancy is risky for developing babies and moms-to-be. However, the facts state that the opposite is true.
Good oral hygiene is a non-negotiable part of a healthy lifestyle for everyone. And getting teeth cleaned is an essential aspect of pregnancy.
It is entirely safe to get routine dental checkups and teeth cleaning appointments during all the three trimesters of pregnancy. However, informing the dentist about your pregnancy is of utmost importance.
Local anesthetics usually are not required for routine teeth cleaning appointments unless deep cleaning is necessary.
Bupivacaine, lidocaine, and mepivacaine are some local anesthetics that are safe during pregnancy.
If your dentist feels something stronger is needed for some elaborate dental procedure, you should discuss it in advance with your doctor.
X-rays may be required for the diagnosis of dental disease during pregnancy. They are of minimal risk to the developing baby.
However, it is necessary that you tell your dentist you are pregnant before X-rays are done. The staff can provide a special garment to shield your pelvis and abdomen from exposure.
Planning your dental appointments during pregnancy
Dental treatment during every trimester is safe. The first trimester of your pregnancy that is the first 13 weeks is the time in which most of the baby’s major organs develop.
Dental checkups and routine dental cleaning can be scheduled during this period. However, any major dental procedure should be avoided.
The second trimester and the early third trimester is the safest time to get any dental treatment including teeth cleaning.
The third trimester is also safe, but the patient might have a hard time lying back for an extended period.
Inform your dentist about your pregnancy
When you go for your dental appointment, tell the dentist that you’re pregnant and your due delivery date.
This information can help the dental team to take precautionary safety measures and provide the best care for you.
If your dentist knows that you are pregnant, he can position you in a dental chair in a more comfortable position.
For example, he can keep your head higher than your feet to maintain blood circulation or he seat you in a semi-reclining chair position and also allow position changes.
The dentist can also place a pillow under your right hip or have you turn slightly to the left to avoid dizziness due to hypotension.
Do tell your dentist what medicines you are taking and if your physician has given you any specific medical advice. It can affect the treatment that the dentist delivers to you.
If your dental visit was more than six months ago or if you have any oral health concerns, you should visit a dentist as soon as possible.
Points to consider after you’ve had your baby
If you had encountered any gum problems or teeth decay during your pregnancy, you should see your dentist after delivery for dental checkup and evaluation.
Take home message
The homecoming of your baby gives you all the more reasons to have a beautiful and healthy smile.
Thus, having good oral hygiene and teeth cleaning is of primordial importance. Also, it contributes to the overall well-being of both the mother and the child.
If morning sickness is troubling you and keeping you from brushing your teeth, change to a bland-tasting toothpaste during pregnancy. Ask your dentist to recommend the brands.
Rinse your mouth with warm water or mouthwash if you experience morning sickness and have bouts of frequent vomiting.
Avoid sweet sugary snacks. Sweet cravings are common during pregnancy. But remember that the more frequently your meal, the higher is the chance of developing dental caries.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Healthy foods containing dairy products, cheese, and yogurt are a good source of these essential minerals and are suitable for baby’s growth and maintenance of good oral health for the mother.(5)
If you have any oral discomfort, visit your dentist. Do not evade going to a dentist. Both oral and systemic checkups are vital during pregnancy.