Oral Health During Pregnancy

May 10, 2018

 

With Mothers Day around the corner, May is the perfect time to discuss about oral health care during pregnancy. There are a few misconceptions out there to clear up and we’ll discuss how and why good home care is especially important during pregnancy.

One of the biggest misconceptions involved with dental care during pregnancy is that restorative treatment and anesthetic are not safe. Receiving local anesthesia while you are pregnant does not pose a risk to you or your baby. At Safe Harbor Smiles we recommend performing treatment if decay is present, as this will worsen and ultimately cause discomfort or more significant treatment (such as root canals, extractions etc). Most people know that additional x-ray exposure during pregnancy may be harmful. While this is true, there are certain instances where the benefit of taking x-rays outweighs the risk. X-rays are an important diagnostic tool for the dentist and if decay is visible orally we may recommend these images to see the extent of decay and provide the best possible treatment. If x-rays are recommended during your pregnancy, a lead thyroid and abdominal shield will be provided.

Preventive care is always important, but even more so while you are pregnant. Women may see increased bleeding and inflammation in their gums. This is often due to hormonal changes that affect the bodies response to bacteria and initiate gingivitis. Good oral habits, brushing twice per day with a fluoride toothpaste and cleaning between the teeth daily with either floss or a water flosser is essential. Pregnant women are also at an increased risk for cavities due to diet changes such as increased snacking or more carbohydrates. The acidity caused by frequent vomiting also increases cavity risk. These factors make it that much more important to use fluoride toothpaste and mouthrinse to strengthen enamel.

One of the goals of good home care and frequent dental hygiene visits is to prevent periodontal disease. Suffering from periodontal disease during pregnancy is known to have a negative impact on babies. Maternal periodontitis has been linked with preterm birth, low birth weight babies, low birth weight babies being born pre-maturely, as well as developing preeclampsia during pregnancy. If you are diagnosed with periodontal disease during pregnancy it is important to follow the recommendation of your hygienist to have the disease treated before baby arrives.

For any treatment recommended during pregnancy we typically schedule during the second trimester, when the baby has had time to develop, but you’re still fairly comfortable. As always at Safe Harbor Smiles you will be treated based on your individual needs. If you have further questions please give us a call or ask your dentist or hygienist at your next visit.

 

Resources:

Mouth Healthy

https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/pregnancy

American Dental Association

https://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/pregnancy

Colgate

https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/life-stages/oral-care-during-pregnancy/pregnancy-prenatal-care-and-oral-health


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