Healthy pregnancies also depend on good oral health
Whether it’s your first or fifth child, pregnancy is both an exciting and overwhelming time for most moms-to-be. It’s important to take great care of yourself in order to take the best care of your baby, and dental care is no exception.
During pregnancy, your body goes through many changes that can make you more likely to experience problems with your oral health1. While the majority of women do not visit the dentist during pregnancy2, this is an especially important time to make sure your mouth, teeth and gums are healthy.
Hormone changes and increased blood volume associated with pregnancy can contribute to a range of other oral health conditions, including dry mouth and sensitive teeth. Also, morning sickness can expose your mouth to higher levels of acid, which can wear away tooth enamel and lead to cavities4.
The following symptoms are associated with one or more pregnancy-related oral health condition1. Alert your dentist if you experience any of the following:
- Persistent bad breath
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Easily bleeding gums
- Pain or trouble chewing
- Abnormal teeth sensitivity
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
- Mouth sores or growths
Good oral health for a healthy pregnancy
The best way to keep your mouth healthy and prevent oral health conditions during pregnancy is through proper preventive dental care. This includes seeing your dentist regularly and taking extra good care of your mouth at home.
Because pregnancy can actually make some dental problems worse, regular checkups are important. Since you have an increased risk of developing gum disease during pregnancy, you may benefit from seeing your dentist more frequently than you normally do. The TRICARE Dental Program provides an additional cleaning for members during pregnancy.
Be sure to tell your dentist details such as how far along you are and if your pregnancy is being treated as high-risk. Also inform him or her if you experience any new symptoms or other changes in your mouth.
Gum disease and pregnancy
During pregnancy, your body has a higher volume of blood and goes through hormone fluctuations, which can make you more prone to gum disease. This common condition usually starts during the second to third month of pregnancy. If left untreated, early gum disease (gingivitis) can progress to a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis, which is linked to premature birth and/or low birth weight. Fortunately, these issues can be reduced through early detection and treatment from your dentist.
Improved Dental Add Additional Coverage During Pregnancy
We recognize the impact your oral health can have on the overall health of both you and your baby. This is why the TRICARE Dental Program (TDP) provides improved dental insurance coverage during pregnancy. You can receive one additional covered dental cleaning during pregnancy through the TDP’s Wellness Program. You’ll also have more coverage on services to help manage all stages of gum disease during pregnancy, including:
- Gingivitis – A mild form of gum disease more likely to occur during pregnancy*
- Periodontitis – A condition linked to both prematurity and low birth weight babies*
Confirm and Activate Your Coverage:
To receive this enhanced coverage while pregnant, you (or anyone on your dental plan) must report the pregnancy online via My Account. Register to use TDP Wellness Program any time after your TDP effective date of coverage. Here’s how:
Select the red "Log in to My Account" button at the top of this page and log in using your DS Logon
Select “Manage My Wellness”
- Add your medical condition
Once registered, talk to your dentist about your pregnancy and your additional coverage through TDP. You may or may not need the extra services that are available, but your dentist can recommend which (if any) additional procedures can help the condition of your mouth.
1 Dental health during pregnancy; March of Dimes, January 2018.2 Pregnancy Dental Concerns; American Dental Association; 2016