Oral and dental health during pregnancy

It is perhaps one of the most beautiful feelings in the world to bring a healthy baby into the world, to hold it in your arms and to inhale the fragrant scent of that newborn baby. When we decide to experience this beautiful feeling, what if we go to a gynecologist, get examined, have some tests done and see if everything is alright; In order to protect and maintain our oral and dental health in this special period, going to the dentist and being examined should be one of the first things to consider. This pre-examination, intraoral and radiological evaluation will help us to reveal the existing problems and treat them, as well as help us stay away from the stress of “what if my tooth hurts and I have to treat” even a single caries that will be in our mouth during pregnancy. If we take precautionary measures for the changes and discomfort in the teeth during pregnancy and pay attention to some factors, we can continue our life without any changes in our teeth and our oral health in the post-pregnancy period, and we will also take the first step we need to take for the oral and dental health of our baby. At the beginning of the issues to be considered in this regard are dental treatment and drug use during pregnancy.

Experiences in a complex process such as pregnancy, which is expected to last for 40 weeks, leave both the family, the obstetrician, and sometimes the other branch physicians with the responsibility of being careful and necessitate dialogue between physicians. In general, the question is whether dental treatment can be done during pregnancy, and if there is a need to use drugs, which drugs can or cannot be used. For pregnant women, 3-6 months is the best time for dental treatments and routine dental scaling. If there is a problem that causes pain and discomfort, it can be treated within this period. If there is a problem between 1-3 months and it is not possible to wait for a few months, it is intervened. Otherwise, it is waited until the 2nd period with temporary treatments. If there is no severe pain between 6-9 months, the pregnant woman can be comfortable until after the birth with simple solutions. The right thing to do here is to discuss with the patient’s obstetrician at every stage of pregnancy and to make a personal decision according to the degree of difficulty of the treatment. If the health and mental state of the pregnant woman is good (no risk of miscarriage, premature birth, extreme fear, panic attack), tooth can be extracted, abscess can be treated, and filling can be done at any time. Because the stress caused by the pain may be more harmful for the baby. Drug use during pregnancy is also an issue that should be considered very carefully. Medications should only be used when absolutely necessary. It should be discussed whether the treatment of the existing dental problem can be postponed, whether the drugs considered to be used if it needs to be treated will have a negative effect on the baby, or if the treatment will be postponed, what kind of problems the dental problems will cause to the baby, and a joint decision taken by the physicians should be applied.

It can be said that there is no cause for concern in the use of antibiotics and local anesthesia, which are routinely used during dental treatments. However, tetracycline group antibiotics should definitely not be used as they may cause discoloration of the baby’s teeth, which we can call “tetracycline discoloration”. In the use of painkillers, the doctor’s recommendations should be strictly followed. Another frequently asked issue in dentistry is whether a film can be taken during pregnancy. Although the amount of radiation in the x-ray machines used in dentistry is very low, the film should not be taken unless it is necessary during this period. If a film is required for an emergency treatment; 1 or 2 films can be taken by wearing a special protective lead apron for the mother, using fast films and reducing the dose. The most important point to keep in mind here is that since the baby’s organs develop in the first 3 months of pregnancy, the pregnant woman should not receive radiation as much as possible. Another issue to be emphasized is the thoughts of mothers as “I lost a tooth after every birth”. During this period, the reasons for the teeth of pregnant women to decay more quickly are as follows; Pregnant women may be overly tempted to eat sweet foods and junk food.

In general, the acid environment in the mouth increases immediately after consuming them. If tooth brushing is neglected, the formation of caries accelerates. The second important reason is vomiting, which is usually seen at the beginning of pregnancy. Changes in the levels of estrogen and progesterone hormones during pregnancy cause bleeding in the gums. Seeing that her gums are bleeding, the mother avoids brushing her teeth, which negatively affects her oral health. Another misconception is that the baby gets the calcium it needs from the mother’s teeth during its development. During this period, the mother and the baby need 1200-1500 mg of calcium daily in order for the bones of the baby and the mother to be healthy. During pregnancy, the mother meets this need by taking calcium-rich foods such as milk and dairy products and green leafy vegetables. If a sufficient amount of calcium cannot be taken with food, this required amount is met from the mother’s bones. Therefore, calcium does not leave the teeth and pass to the baby. If adequate oral care is provided along with a good diet, this very special period will not cause mothers to encounter a dental problem that they will experience differently. One of the questions that pregnant women ask their dentists curiously during this period is whether the tooth can be extracted during this period, and if necessary, the first trimester can be removed as much as possible in an emergency. The use of antibiotics before the extraction and the choice of local anesthesia to be used during the extraction should be made specifically for the pregnant woman. Excessive redness, swelling and bleeding tendency in the gums during pregnancy is called pregnancy gingivitis. This picture, which is caused by the change of hormones, starts in the 2nd month of pregnancy and reaches its highest level in the 8th month. It usually heals spontaneously after birth. Factors such as bacterial plaque or dental calculus, which occur in people who do not perform regular oral and dental care and cause irritation of the gums, can carry the picture of pregnancy gingivitis to more serious dimensions. If there is deep tartar accumulation on the teeth, it should be cleaned by the dentist.

Pregnant women can maintain their teeth and health by brushing their teeth at least twice a day, if they experience vomiting, by rinsing their mouths with water after each vomiting, by using dental floss, by eating a balanced diet, taking care to take vitamins C and B 12, and by continuing to visit the dentist regularly during this period. I wish that your wonderful smile, which we always want to be on your face, will never disappear from your face during pregnancy.