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Dental treatment and pregnancy

Expecting a child is such a wonderful experience. Staying healthy before and during pregnancy has a significant importance in assuring mother’s and child’s wellness. However, a lot of women stated not having a well planed strategy before pregnancy. Seeing your dentist and your primary physician provider can not be neglected.

More than 50% of women reported not consulting with their dentists about their pregnancy and this is underestimated. The relation between pregnancy and dental treatment is not publicly and widely understood.

The myth: Pregnancy makes teeth and gum worse however I take care of my teeth.

The truth: Pregnancy comes with an increase in hormone levels that can change your body’s reactions to plaque- the build-up on your teeth. This can later turn into pregnancy gingivitis which is gum redness, swelling, bleeding or overgrowth. This can be avoided with a prenatal dental check-up and cleaning. A 3 to 6 month recall can maintain a good oral health.

Stronger gag reflex during pregnancy can cause unpleasant experience with brushing and flossing. Avoiding it can affect negatively oral health. Using a soft toothbrush, changing the flavor of toothpaste, increasing time of brushing with a more gentle force can resolve the problem. Gagging and vomiting also can cause enamel erosion. That is something that pregnant women can prevent by avoiding a certain type of food, drinks and perfumes. Communication can make everyone in the family on the same page. When it happens, make sure to rinse with water so the erosion is much diminished.

Pregnancy also comes with an increased sugar intake, and of course a higher caries risk. Avoid having sugar or limit sugar to meal time with a well maintained brushing habit can keep caries risk low.

The myth: Dental treatment should be postponed until baby delivery

The truth: Some dental infection could be easily treated during the second trimester. Dental treatment is normally avoided in the first trimester due to morning sickness and child’s developmental phases. In the third trimester, premature birth and backache is one of the main reasons that dental treatment is limited. However, inflammatory mediators and pain from dental infection is way more dangerous than the drawbacks of dental treatment itself and should be carefully consulted with your dentist. I would recommend my patients to treat all infection before pregnancy and maintain their oral health with home care and regular recall visit. For any reason that the treatment could not be done prenatally can be completed in the second trimester without interference with mother and child’ s health.

Hopefully that every single pregnant women would be equipped with necessary knowledge to take care of herself and her future children.

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