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Pregnancy brings on major physical changes that may have an effect on oral health. Due to hormonal changes, pregnant women may experience greater fatigue, nausea, and vomiting in the first trimester, which may then taper off later in the pregnancy. They may develop excessive appetite for unusual kinds of food, which increases the risk of dental cavities.
Pregnant women must consume more protein, vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, iron, and folic acid. It is also recommended that they take calcium supplements, since unlike the calcium present in the teeth, calcium in the bones can flow into the blood and nourish the fetus.
Fluoride supplements are not recommended, since no benefit to the mother or fetus of such supplements has been demonstrated. However, fluoride toothpaste is more effective for pregnant women and carries less risk for the fetus.
At the onset of their pregnancy, women should visit their dentist for cleaning and tartar removal and to seek advice for appropriate oral hygiene during pregnancy. The dentist must be informed of the pregnancy; accordingly, he or she will limit the use of X-rays, especially in the first trimester when the fetus is particularly sensitive to them. Other dental treatments will be deferred to the second trimester. Local anesthetic involves no risk to the fetus, whatever the trimester. However, certain medications can cause fetal malformations. It is therefore important to speak with your doctor before taking any medication.