Activities that are often part of your normal routine — eating sushi, coloring your hair or riding your bike — may be potentially dangerous when you’re pregnant. In fact, so many things are potential risks during pregnancy that it’s easy to become paranoid about safe activities like getting your teeth cleaned.
All adults should have their teeth cleaned every six months, so there’s a good chance your regular dental cleaning appointment will fall during your nine-month pregnancy. If it does, don’t reschedule. And if you haven’t had a dental cleaning in the last six months, go ahead and get one. Not only are dental cleanings safe during pregnancy, they’re also a good idea, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
Your gums may be susceptible to infection and gum disease at any time, but your risk increases when you’re pregnant, explains consumer health writer Deepi Brar on the CVS Health Resources website. During pregnancy, your blood volume may increase by as much as 50 percent, giving bacteria in your mouth plenty to feed on and increasing the sensitivity of your gums. As many as 50 percent of all pregnant women end up with gum infections known as pregnancy gingivitis during their pregnancies, says Brar.
Regular dental care while you’re pregnant may help lower your risk for premature labor, says ob-gyn Thomas Bader on BabyCenter.com. There’s a link between inflammation and early uterine contractions, and the inflammation in your body caused by gum disease may be enough to trigger premature birth. Babies born early may have immediate serious medical and future developmental problems, and premature birth can also cause maternal health issues, explains Bader.
Most routine X-rays can be put off until after you give birth, but if you have a serious dental problem that needs immediate attention, it’s very unlikely that a low level of radiation would cause a problem for your baby as long as your dentist takes the appropriate precautions, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
Though regular dental cleanings and necessary procedures are safe during pregnancy, save elective or cosmetic treatments — including teeth whitening — until after you give birth, recommends the American Pregnancy Association. Always let your dentist know that you’re pregnant.