No doubt you may have heard that pregnancy can wreak havoc on your pearly whites. Most often this is in reference to a lack of calcium. We already know that calcium is required for healthy bones and teeth. Calcium is needed for your baby’s developing bones and to maintain your own healthy bones and teeth as well. People often worry that pregnancy will cause tooth decay but this is not necessarily so. A calcium deficiency could result in the body using its stored resources but this is unlikely in most cases. Eating a healthy, nutritious diet can be beneficial in providing the body with proper vitamins and minerals as well as maintaining physical and dental health. Of course good oral hygiene practice is also very important in preserving healthy teeth and gums.

Expectant mothers should inform their dentist that they are pregnant immediately if they have any dental work scheduled. While most regular check ups and cleanings are usually safe to proceed with, some procedures and medications can be harmful to the fetus. Dental work should be avoided if possible particularly during the first trimester when the fetus is most vulnerable and risks are highest.

Proper dental care is important to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Brush your teeth on the average of two to three times daily and floss regularly. Avoid excessive sugar in your diet but be certain to get an adequate amount of Vitamin C. Most dental treatments can be done safely although it is normally recommended that any major dental work be postponed if possible until after the delivery of the child. Avoid X-rays if at all possible. If infection occurs there are antibiotics and pain medications that can be safely prescribed by your physician. Although some dental work can be delayed during pregnancy, other conditions may require immediate care. Dental conditions that involve extreme pain, swelling and/or possible infection require immediate attention; you should consult both your dentist and obstetrician. Together they can decide on the best course of action to treat the problem promptly and safely.

Remember that a healthy diet and proper oral hygiene can help lessen the chance of tooth decay. Consult your physician before having any dental treatment and feel free to discuss any concerns you may have with either your physician or your dentist. After all, your health is their concern too. You’ll want to have a beautiful, healthy smile when you welcome your baby into the world.