Oral Health During Pregnancy: MYTH vs FACT

The doctor says, “Congratulations! You’re going to have a baby!” and then promptly gives you a folder full of things you should and shouldn’t do. Then, you realized it’s not only your doctor - it’s everyone! It seems likes everyone is telling you what is good or bad for you or the baby. Throw in the old wives’ tales and something your best friend’s cousin said, and a lot of misinformation can spread. Let’s start with the myths.  

MYTH: The baby took all the calcium from my teeth

The baby didn’t take your calcium. That sweet little fetus is too busy causing hormone pandemonium to siphon calcium. This myth probably comes from the fact that women face a higher risk of tooth decay. Pregnancy is a critical time to consume calcium because it is the essential nutrient that helps your growing baby develop properly and lowers your own risk of osteoporosis later in life. Another culprit for tooth decay could be morning sickness. Frequent vomiting exposes your teeth to stomach acid that can dissolve tooth enamel over time and weaken the tooth's defense against decay.  

MYTH: Never get a dental X-ray while pregnant

The American Dental Association considers dental X-rays during pregnancy safe. X-rays can be essential in detecting serious problems, such as hidden decay, bone loss, and inflamed tooth pulp. No research has found a link between dental x-rays and birth defects, although a 2004 study did find an increase in low birth weight among women who had dental x-rays while pregnant. If you have any concerns, talk to your dentist, who can help evaluate your case and decide whether x-rays can be postponed.  

MYTH: Your oral health doesn’t affect your baby

You are, in fact, brushing for two. Pregnant women tend to have higher amounts of bacteria in their mouths. This bacterium can enter the bloodstream through their gums and travel to the uterus and trigger the production of prostaglandins that are suspected to induce premature labor. In general, a healthy mouth is important for maintaining a healthy body (this goes for everyone, not just moms). Read our blog about the link between gum disease and other health conditions.  

What are some facts?

  • Nearly 60 to 75% of pregnant women have gingivitis. Some women also get an overgrowth of tissue in their mouth referred to as “pregnancy tumors.” Both issues are treatable, so visit your dentist.
  • • If a mother has several untreated cavities or tooth loss, the child is 3 times more likely to have cavities as a child according to a study in the Journal of the American Dental Association. Most dental work is safe during pregnancy. It’s recommended to follow through with necessary dental work to prevent issues like an infection (that impacts the health of the baby) or the need for more complex dental work in the future. Not to mention, you’ll have more time to get cleanings and fillings done before the baby is born.
  • A 2015 study by the ADA found that local anesthetics like lidocaine are safe during pregnancy “Our study identified no evidence to show that dental treatment with anesthetics is harmful during pregnancy,” said study author Dr. Hagai. “We aimed to determine if there was a significant risk associated with dental treatment with anesthesia and pregnancy outcomes. We did not find any such risk.”
  • Don’t take our word for it, even the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists agree that emergency treatments, such as root canals, extractions, or restorations can be safely done during pregnancy and delaying treatment could result in more complex problems. Your dentist might recommend waiting until the 2nd or 3rd trimester for procedures requiring anesthesia.
As always, please have an open conversation with your doctor and your dentist. Discuss your concerns, any symptoms, and all medication you’re taking. This will help your doctors keep you and your baby safe and comfortable. Plus, you get to lay back and put your feet up.

Share this post

What are you looking for?

Enter your search below to learn more about ASAP Dental Care and get info on dental treatments we provide.