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Some questions about oral health and pregnancy

 Questions and answers to clear oral health concerns.

Some questions about oral health and pregnancy

During pregnancy, women experience a series of physiological changes in their bodies. In the mouth, alterations such as inflammation of the gums or the appearance of cavities are frequent. These are often assumed to be 'normal' situations associated with pregnancy, but they are not and can and should be avoided. We solve some of the most common doubts.

Can intraoral radiographs be performed during pregnancy?

Routine control X-rays should be avoided during pregnancy. However, in a dental emergency, they may be necessary, with proper protection. Dental X-rays are not contraindicated in pregnancy.

Why is the relationship between oral health and pregnancy important?

The mouth is one of the main areas affected by physiological and hormonal changes during pregnancy. Gingival inflammation increases during pregnancy, even with proper plaque removal measures. Pregnant women may develop gingivitis, granuloma gravidarum (pregnancy tumor), and periodontitis.

Does snacking predispose pregnant women to develop cavities? 

During pregnancy, many women feel the uncontrollable desire to eat at all hours. Sugary foods and beverages that promote tooth decay should be avoided. It is advisable to brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste after eating. The best way to prevent cavities is to perform correct and complete oral hygiene without forgetting daily tooth brushing, flossing, and/or interdental brushes.

Does pregnancy damage the mother's teeth?

This idea is not entirely true since the calcium needed by the baby comes from what the mother eats and not from her teeth. A balanced diet (with adequate dairy products), as well as calcium supplements (if recommended by the obstetrician), are sufficient to avoid problems. And undoubtedly, the good periodontal health of the mother before and during pregnancy will ensure that she does not lose any teeth during gestation.

Can vomit during pregnancy damage teeth?

Excessive vomiting (due to morning sickness), as well as gastric acids, can cause a loss of minerals from the teeth and promote tooth decay. The dentist should be informed of this phenomenon and apply fluoride to the teeth or recommend fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash to prevent this problem.

What to do to keep your mouth healthy during pregnancy?

The most important thing to do to prevent caries and gingivitis is to brush your teeth thoroughly with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day and perform interdental hygiene at least once a day. Women more prone to caries and gum disease should use fluoride mouthwash and antimicrobial agents

What dental treatments should I avoid during pregnancy? 

Practically all dental hygiene and treatment procedures can be carried out without problems in pregnant women, although there are exceptions, and some precautions should be taken. For example, treatments during the second and third trimesters should be kept to a minimum, with simple operative sequences and short treatment times; generally, the second trimester of pregnancy is the safest period to provide regular dental care

What dental treatments should not be avoided during pregnancy?

The most important thing is to avoid active disease. Elimination of any source of infection should be done before pregnancy itself, whenever possible, but should it arise, it should be addressed with appropriate measures at any time during pregnancy.  

Pregnant women with gingival bleeding and gum discomfort should have their periodontal disease treated to minimize the risk to the fetus. X-rays and complex treatments should be avoided, but the initial disinfection to eliminate inflammation should be performed and considered with longer treatments after delivery.

Does dental anesthesia affect the course of pregnancy?

During pregnancy and lactation, there are important restrictions on the use of medications, but there is usually no contraindication to the use of anesthesia if it is required for causal or emergency treatment without any risk to the fetus.

To address oral health problems and/or associated complications, which drugs can I use and which ones can I avoid during pregnancy?

The use of medications during pregnancy should be fully monitored by the referring physician. Generally, the use of antibiotics is restricted because of the possible effects on the fetus. Penicillins, erythromycin, and cephalosporins seem to be low-risk groups of antibiotics, but, nevertheless, their use should be limited to emergency situations and under medical supervision.

Paracetamol is the most commonly used analgesic in pregnant women, with analgesic, antipyretic, and minimally anti-inflammatory effects. There are no studies that indicate any risk for pregnant women or the fetus. On the contrary, ibuprofen should be avoided since it profoundly affects neonatal circulation. 
The use of chlorhexidine in any of its presentations (paste, gel, or rinse) is completely safe and can be used during pregnancy if necessary. It has no synthetic absorption, and its antibacterial effects will be restricted to the mouth.