Motherhood is a wonderful thing. We all love babies, say the experts at Amazing Smiles Dental. As dentists, we just want expectant mothers to care about their teeth as much as they do about the new arrival to the family.
And it is so true. After all, you think of the new baby and smile. This is a life changing event. It is all you can think about; the moment you become a FAMILY. You make sure the bedroom is perfectly decorated, you purchase all those beautiful baby clothes and cute accessories. “But oftentimes,” say the experts at Willamette Dental Group, “the one thing you leave out is your own health. We are not referring to your health in general, nor that of your child. we know that you are making your regular check-ups and watching what you eat — but you could be overlooking your dental health.”
As an expectant mother, you want to pay attention to your dental health, and make sure that you get enough calcium and phosphorus. A healthy diet, paired with your prescribed vitamins will provide enough calcium and phosphorus as well as other vitamins and minerals for your baby’s teeth and bones, but you want to be extra careful with your dental health. You still want to make sure that your teeth are in good shape, and that you make routine visits to your dentist throughout your pregnancy. And because there are so many misconceptions with regard to pregnancy and dental health, we decided to team up with the experts at Rose Dental, Willamette Dental Group, Dental Concepts, Beautiful Smiles Dental and Amazing Smiles Dental to find out what you need to know.
Basically, after our initial conversations we learned this. Your physician and your dentist should work hand in hand to evaluate your healthy throughout your pregnancy and advise you accordingly. This is not a period in your life where you should just see your obstetrician and no other medical professional. “Your dentist is a critical part of you and your baby’s health during this time of your life say the experts at Amazing Smiles Dental Group.
The physiologic changes that occur during pregnancy can also result in an increase in oral health issues, particularly an increased risk of gingiitis. However, there are also some women who suffer from other more severe oral health conditions when pregnant. Changes to your mouth and teeth that you might notice include:
- Oral gingival sores
- Tooth Movement
- . Periodontal disease
“Be sure to talk to your dentist about these possible changes before they occur, say the dentists at Rose dental. This way you won’t become confused and will know what to expect and what can occur when refering to your teeth during this time of your life. “Ask your dentist about the different ways you can perform good oral hygiene to keep gums and teeth happy during your pregnancy and beyond.
What are The Changes that Might Occur?
Pregnancy gingivitis – this is a common occurence for expectant mothers. Rose Dental experts say, “It is your body’s response to the added amount of plaque that forms during pregnancy due to hormone changes.” It causes the gums to become red, swollend and even bleed more easily. Your dentist can help you prevent this inflammation but a simple home remedy could also work. Just rinse your mouth with salt water made of 1 teaspoon of salt and a glass of warm water. This mixture can help with the irritation and swelling.
Benign Oral Gingival Lesions – The experts at Dental Concepts told us that about 5% of all women who are pregnant get oral lesions, but these tend to minimize and regress after pregnancy. surgical removal is not usually necesary, however, they can cause severe pain, bleeding or interfer with chewing activities.
Tooth Mobility – No! your teeth won’t move permanently say the experts at Beautiful Smiles Dental, “But, the muscles, ligaments and bones that support teeth can become lose temporarily, which may result in some mobility but there is not usually tooth loss.
Tooth Erosion – Amazing Smiles Dental suggests that one of the more prevalent issues in pregnancy is tooth erosion. This comes from the exposure to the acids in the stomach which come into contact with teeth through the vomit of morning sickness.
Cavities – Pregnancy can result in tooth decay because of the added acid to the mouth. Plus women who produce less saliva and eat more sugar because of cravings have a larger risk of experiencing cavities during pregnancy.
Periodontitis – It comes from untreated gingivitis that progresses to gingivitis. It is an inflammatory response to the acids created by bacteria living in the mouth.
40% of Women Suffer from Gingivitis
The experts at Williamette showed us a study that identifies an aproximate 40% of all pregnant women in the USA that have some type of gingivitis or periodontal disease, especially African-American women, women who smoke and those who come from low income households. Some studies even show a link between periodontal disease and preterm birth. These studies suggest that blood-borne bacteria can move to the placental tissues as well as the uterus and cervix, which can sometimes result in Preterm labor, especially in African Americans. However, more research is needed to prove this possibilty.
Treatment of Periodontal Disease During Pregnancy
Despite the lack of evidence of how oral health affects pregnancy. Most doctors say there may be enough evidence to link gingival issues with preterm brith weights.This is why it is so critical that all women seek the help of their oral health expert during this time.
Oral Health Assessment and Counseling During Pregnancy
Pregnant women should adopt healthier habits and include dental care, especially because in many states medicare offers this coverage during pregnancy. Dental and obstetric teams can help women start a good oral healthcare future for themselves and for their babies. It is just a matter of getting information and financial help they need.
“It is a shame,” say the doctors at Dental Concepts, “most gynecologysts and obstetricians understand the link between oral health and low birth weights, yet they do not screen patients for their oral health care history and do not refer them to a dental specialist.
On Another Note, Says Willamette Dental Group
Many women shy away from the dentist during pregnancy fearing the harm of x-rays or anesthesia for the baby. But new modern technology and medication allows for the completion of these processes with no harm to the infant. Health care providers need to refer pregnant women to a dentist, especially if they know that it has been more than 6 months since their last routine examination.
Your Dentist Can Now Administer the Following Treatments Safely During Pregnancy:
- Root Canals
- Caries Treatment
- Dentists Should Counsel Patients
A dentist should offer important information on the things a woman can do to improve her oral health care.
- limiting sugars and carbohydrates
- brushing twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste
- flossing once daily
- Making dental visits twice a year.
- For patients with morning sickness, doctors and dentists should explain why taking antacids and washing the mouth out with water or salt water mixtures is important. This is what can help neutralize acids from the stomach that get on the teeth.
Concerns Women Have About Oral Health During Pregnancy
Education is a key factor in maintaining good oral health. but often it is the women from lower socio economic levels that do not have this information, and so we have decided to offer the answer to these questions here.
Does the calcium for the baby’s teeth come from my teeth?
No. This is a common misconception. the truth is that the child gets calcium from your diet, so you want to take calcium supplements or get an extra dose of dairy products to help those baby bone grow.
How Can I Best Care for My Teeth?
You must prepare against tooth decay and gum disease as best you can. brush your teeth 3 times a day with a fluoridated toothpaste. Floss and use an interdental cleaning brush at least once a day to remove debris from between your teeth. Use an anti-gingivitis mouth rinse after you brush your teeth. brush and floss correctly to keep plaque away. consult with your dentist on what the best brushing and flossing techniques are and what you can do to keep your teeth and gums healthier during pregnancy.
Note: inflammation of the gums, gingivitis and periodontal disease are more common during the second and third trimester of your pregnancy than they are in the first.
Should I Use Fluoride?
Some women decide to take fluoride supplements during pregnancy hoping that this additional fluoride will help the child form strong teeth but there is no real evidence of this fact suggest the experts at Amazing Smiles Dental Clinics. So taking this supplementation can be quite controversial. Consult with your dentist and obstetrician before taking end fluoride supplement. Fluoride supplements do not necessarily help in enamel formation add fluoride usually only works when the teeth have been fully formed.
Does pregnancy affect my gums?
Pregnancy causes hormone levels to rise considerably, causing gingivitis and inflammation of the gums. This is common during the second to 8 month period of the pregnancy term, and it causes red, inflamed and tender gums that can bleed when you brush. It happens frequently to pregnant women and is a response to an increase in bacterial plaque which is caused by the increased level of progesterone in your system.
Some women also experience the overgrowth of gum tissue, a problem that is known as pregnancy tumors. These lesions usually appear during the second trimester, and although uncomfortable are noncancerous. They are usually a result of excessive plaque, which is just one more reason it is important to visit your dentist regularly during pregnancy.
Access to Oral Care
When living on a lower incomey, it is understandable that oral health care can often be put off. Approximate 35% of U.S. women have reported not going to the dentist during their pregnancy. They say that it is a lack of money and insurance coverage, but there is another variable as well. There is a lack of education and of transportation. Many dental providers are also unwilling to work with patients with financial needs.
Is There Adequate Dental Coverage?
It is important for women, obstetricians and dentist to be aware of a patients’ insurance coverage. There are times when insurance will cover dental health during pregnancy but not at other times. Check on state programs as many states offer oral health care coverage during this time.
The Obstetricians Responsibility
Obstetricians should refer women to a dentist when they first get pregnant, a fact that does not often happen.
Regular dental care is important to the well being of both mother and child. Prenatal health care can improve the birth of the baby, its weight and overall health.