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Can You Go To The Dentist When You're Pregnant? Those Pearly Whites Still Matter

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When you're pregnant the list of things you're "not supposed to do" or deal with or be around or I guess even think about can feel never-ending. Kitty litter? Stay far away. Sushi? Skip that, too. Enjoy a nice, soft cheese? How dare you, woman! But can you go to the dentist when you're pregnant? Good question, and for a number of reasons. Not only does dental health seem to fall by the wayside women you're growing a human being inside your body, but a pregnancy can actual affect your pearly whites in a way most women don't consider. Pregnancy dental symptoms aren't exactly talked about very much among pregnant or non-pregnant people, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't keep an eye on them.

According to the American Dental Association's website Mouth Health, many women make it all the way through their pregnancies without experiencing any dental discomfort. But some expecting women can experience symptoms like pregnancy gingivitis, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), which is inflammation of the gums during pregnancy that causes swelling and tenderness. Some dentists might recommend getting your teeth cleaned more often when you're pregnant, in an attempt to keep bleeding and swelling down.

Pregnant women can also be more prone to developing cavities, according to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), in part because a more carbohydrate-heavy diet can leave teeth susceptible to decay. Additionally, vomiting from morning sickness introduces more acid into your mouth, which can create conditions that lead to tooth decay. Finally, the Consumer Guide to Dentistry says pregnant women can develop what are called "pregnancy tumors," which thankfully sound much more scary than they actually are. Pregnancy tumors aren't cancerous, but are swollen areas of your gums, usually found between your teeth. They are usually bright red and bleed easily, but recede once your baby is born.

So what if you have to have dental work done while you're pregnant? Is it safe for you to have local anesthesia? According to the APA, the anesthesia necessary to perform regular dental work is perfectly safe for you during pregnancy, so that's not an excuse to put it off. While anesthesia is safe, however, you'll want to consult with your dentist and physician to ensure that any pain relief or antibiotics prescribed by your dentist during your pregnancy is safe for you and your baby.

Is there anything you should do differently for dental hygiene when you're pregnant? The American Dental Association (ADA) explains that you don't have to do anything different, so long as you are already using best practices for dental hygiene because "poor habits during pregnancy have been associated with premature delivery, intrauterine growth restriction, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia."

In other words, you'll want to brush regularly and after meals, and floss once a day to clean between your teeth in order to keep your teeth healthy. Yes, whether you're pregnant or not.