Dental Care During Pregnancy
You’re pregnant! Congratulations! In 2011, new guidelines were developed regarding pregnancy and dentistry. A consensus statement was developed at a meeting of 13 organizations sponsored by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Dental Association. Updated recommendations have replaced older thoughts.
Q: I was previously told dental cleanings and treatments should be limited to the second trimester.
A: This is not true anymore. It is safe to receive dental care while you are pregnant. Cleanings, exams, x-rays, fillings, and additional treatments are not problematic.
Q: Is it OK to receive dental x-rays while I’m pregnant?
A: Yes, it is OK to have x-rays taken while you are pregnant.
Q: I was told I can receive novocaine while I’m pregnant, but not with epinephrine. Is this still true?
A: No, it is not true anymore. It is OK to receive novocaine with epinephrine while pregnant.
Q: What about medications while I’m pregnant?
A: As far as common dental medications, the following are OK to take while pregnant, but ONLY when approved by your dentist and / or your prenatal care health professional:
- Pain meds: acetaminophen & codeine. Aspirin & ibuprofen should be avoided in the first and third trimesters. During the second trimester, they may be used in short duration (48 to 72 hours).
- Antibiotics: Amoxicillin & Penicillin are OK, Ciprofoxacin, Levoflxacin, and Tetracycline are not.
Q: What about nitrous oxide / laughing gas?
A: Nitrous oxide is ok to use, but should be approved by a prenatal care health professional.
Q: What are some of the common problems women have with their mouth while pregnant?
A: Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) is the most common complication while pregnant. If gingivitis goes untreated, it can lead to periodontal disease (bone and gum loss), which can lead to other infections and tooth loss. It is important to see your dentist regularly for exams and cleanings, whether you are pregnant or not.
Q: I suffer from morning sickness. Can this affect my teeth?
A: Yes, the acid in the vomitus can erode your teeth. Rinse your mouth with a teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water to stop acid from attacking your teeth.
Q: Are there any diet recommendations for me during pregnancy?
A: Yes, a good diet is very important while you are pregnant:
- Eat a variety of healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole-grain products like cereals, bread, or crackers. Dairy products like milk, cheese, cottage cheese, or unsweetened yogurt are good choices. Meats, fish, chicken, eggs, beans, and nuts are other options.
- Avoid sugars such as candy, cookies, cake, and dried fruit. Avoid beverages high in sugar such as juice, fruit-flavored drinks, or soda.
- If you have problems with nausea, try eating small amounts of healthy foods throughout the day.
- Drink water (preferably fluoridated) or milk instead of juice, fruit-flavored drinks, or soda.
- To reduce the risk of birth defects, get 600 micrograms of folic acid each day while pregnant. Take a dietary supplement of folic acid and eat foods high in folate and foods fortified with folic acid. Examples include: Asparagus, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, legumes, papaya, oranges, and bananas.
Q: I was told while pregnant the developing child sucks the calcium out of the mother’s teeth. Is this true?
A: No, it is a myth. The calcium that your child needs comes from your diet, not from your teeth. However, if you do not have enough calcium in your diet, your body will take it from your bones. Also, not having good hygiene will make you susceptible to developing cavities.
We have two documents that we would be happy to share with you regarding pregnancy and dentistry: feel free to click the links directly below: