Pregnant mothers are advised to go to the dentist by their health visitors or doctors, but are never really sure why! We will take a little time to advise you of some truths and dispel the odd myth.
During pregnancy your gums become more likely to become inflamed - you might notice your gums bleed more, or become sore. The reason for this is that the pregnancy hormones increase your body's defence mechanisms so your gums will react more to the bacteria in plaque. Recent studies in the U.S. seem to indicate that gum disease can adversely affect pregnancy outcomes. For these reason, keeping your mouth as clean as possible is important. Your dentist/hygienist can remove any plaque and tartar to help with this and show you ways to clean your teeth better.
Sometimes your gums react so strongly to the plaque that you can develop something called a pregnancy granuloma, which is a large swelling at the join of the gum and the tooth. These usually disappear after you've had your baby, but sometimes need to be removed. There is an old wives' tale that you will lose one tooth for every baby. This is a myth - but is thought to be based on some truth - relating to the gum problem described above.
During pregnancy your appetite can increase (and for the most bizarre foodstuffs!!!) so it is important that if you do snack, you avoid too much sweet foods. It is important you try to avoid tooth decay during pregnancy especially, because dentist try to avoid treatment while you are expecting. This would include avoiding x-rays which would detect decay early. As new mums are very busy with their new offspring, quite often mum's teeth are neglected. You must keep up your own dental visits because time really flies with a baby around!
Another myth - your teeth will dissolve or get soft if you don't have enough calcium during pregnancy. This isn't true - your teeth will not change. However, it is important to get enough calcium because your bones can change if you have a low calcium diet during pregnancy.
During pregnancy we try to avoid non-urgent dental treatment including x-rays. Dental treatment can be provided in emergency (including x-rays) if you are having pain or suffering from an infection. Your dentist has to balance the various risks to both you and your baby. You can discuss this with your dentist.