Oral health for pregnant women
During pregnancy the mother's body undergoes hormonal changes that may trigger fatigue, nausea and vomiting in the first trimester of pregnancy. Pregnant women may also crave unusual foods, which can increase their risk of developing cavities.
It is recommended that expectant mothers see the dentist for cleaning and scaling early in their pregnancy, and maintain excellent dental care habits thereafter.
Pregnant women should let the dentist know about their condition, so that only the necessary x-rays are taken, particularly in the first trimester when the fetus is sensitive to radiation. Any other type of dental treatment should be carried out during the second trimester.
Local anesthetic during dental treatment poses no threat to the fetus, regardless of the stage of development.
Fluoride treatments are not recommended and have not been shown to have any beneficial effect on the mother or the fetus. Topical applications of fluoride with a fluoride toothpaste are more effective for the mother and carry fewer risks for her unborn baby.
Hormonal changes make the gums more sensitive to inflammation and may cause an acute gingival response, commonly called pregnancy gingivitis. It is characterized by red, swollen gums.
Women with dental plaque are at greater risk, and so should have their teeth cleaned professionally at the start of their pregnancy.
The Order suggests that expectant or nursing women wait until after their pregnancy or nursing period before having their teeth whitened.
Expectant women with gum disease are up to seven times more likely to have premature or underweight infants as women with healthy gums.