Pregnancy changes your body in countless ways, so it’s not surprising that it can also affect your gums and teeth. In addition to unstable hormone levels, you have more blood flowing through your body and more acid in your mouth.
Here are some oral and dental health issues that may occur during pregnancy:
Any infection is cause for concern when you’re pregnant because it poses a risk to your baby’s health. Untreated gum disease allows bacteria to move from the mouth into the bloodstream, where it can increase the risk of premature birth (before 37 weeks of pregnancy).
If you’re planning to become pregnant or think you might be pregnant, it’s important to see your dentist as soon as possible. You’ll want to find and treat any dental problems early and create an oral health plan for the rest of your pregnancy. Be sure to tell your dentist about any prescriptions and over-the-counter medications you’re taking.
Your dental treatment plan will be based on factors such as your current dental and physical health and how far along you are in your pregnancy. Your dentist may avoid treating some problems in the first trimester of pregnancy. He or she may also postpone treatments if you’re at high risk of miscarriage or have suffered one in the past.
According to the American Dental Association and the American College of Gynecologists, dental X-rays are safe with appropriate shielding. Routine X-rays can usually be postponed until after you give birth.
Here’s how to keep your teeth and gums healthy during pregnancy:
To help manage the pregnancy and improve oral health, HMSA’s Oral Health for Total Health program provides enhanced dental benefits for plan members who are pregnant. These benefits are covered 100% with no out-of-pocket expenses when seeing a participating provider.
Members who are pregnant can easily enroll online.
To use your Oral Health for Total Health benefits, simply make an appointment with your dentist. To find a dentist in your plan’s network, visit our provider directory.