• Radhika Alampalli

Pregnancy & Dental Health



Congratulations on your new bundle… or on your plans for one! There is so much to consider during pregnancy, especially if you are a first-time mom. As a seasoned mother, you are likely still learning (as no two kids are ever the same), and wanting to improve your knowledge too. It’s important to take care of yourself and also to know what to do to keep your baby healthy. When it comes to pregnancy dental care, there are things you should know during your pregnancy.


Dental Care During Pregnancy


Some women believe that a visit to the dentist during pregnancy is a bad idea. It’s not. In fact, you should keep your regularly scheduled appointments. We know you may experience nausea and vomiting and the idea alone of having dental tools in your mouth is enough to make you gag, but morning sickness to this point can damage your teeth, gums, and tongue. Being seen by a dentist during your first or second trimester is highly encouraged to keep your own dental health on track, not to mention that it is likely to be more uncomfortable for you in the third trimester to sit for your exam.


During Pregnancy women are also at a higher risk of developing periodontal disease. Periodontal disease affects the gums and it can be associated with low birth weight and/or preterm birth. The National Institute for Health Care Management reports that, “pre-term birth rate was 42% higher for babies birthed by women who did not receive dental care during pregnancy and low birth weight was 33% higher.”


Don’t be worried about x-rays or cosmetic treatments or procedures during your pregnancy, those can wait, and if for some reason they cannot – the 2nd trimester is the right time to do them. However, dental cleanings and check-ups should not be put off because of pregnancy. It is an old wives’ tale that pregnancy can cause loose teeth.



It is recommended that pregnant women receive a routine dental examination because the mouth is affected by hormonal changes. According to research, women can visit the dentist at any time during pregnancy. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports, “it is recommended that OB/Gyns (Obstetricians/Gynecologists) make an oral health inquiry during the first prenatal visit.” Research published by the American Dental Association (ADA) states that, “poor habits during pregnancy have been associated with premature delivery, intrauterine growth restriction, gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia.”


Some pregnant women can develop gum disease causing swelling, tenderness, and bleeding to the gum area. Research has suggested that bacteria causes inflammation in the gums and can get into the bloodstream targeting the fetus, possibly leading to premature or low- birth weight babies. Overall, scheduling routine dental visits will benefit both mother and baby.



Women should not be afraid to receive routine oral exams during pregnancy. If an x-ray is needed during the visit, dental staff will take caution to protect the mother and the baby. Dental staff will place a lead blanket on the mother and the baby to protect from any radiation. They will also treat any infections and dental pain. If major treatment is needed, the dental staff will discuss other options or postpone the procedure until after birth if necessary. Detecting early signs of oral issues by making routine visits to a dentist can play a major role in a mother’s overall health before and after giving birth.


Action steps:

  • Please share this information with expecting mothers.

  • Encourage pregnant women to schedule an oral examination as soon as possible.


Pregnant or not, if you have concerns about your dental health or your child’s dental health our experts can help you answer any questions you might have.

Call us @ 650-321-6911or through online to schedule your appointment today!


References:

Gaszyńska, E., Klepacz-Szewczyk, J., Trafalska, E., Garus-Pakowska, A., & Szatko, F. (2015, April 17). Dental awareness and oral health of pregnant women in Poland. Retrieved September 29, 2017, from http://ijomeh.eu/Dental-awareness-and-oral-health-of-pregnant-women-in-Poland,2159,0,2.html

HMHBGA » HMHB Presentations. Titshaw, T. (2016), Oral Hygiene, Pregnancy, Birth Outcomes & the First Year. Retrieved September 29, 2017, from: http://hmhbga.org/wp-content/uploads/AM16-Oral-Health-Presentation-Titshaw.pdf

The American Dental Association, Is It Safe To Go To the Dentist During Pregnancy? (n.d.). Retrieved September 29, 2017, from www.mouthhealthy.org/en/pregnancy/concerns

Women’s Health Care Physicians. (n.d.). Retrieved September 29, 2017, from https://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Health-Care-for-Underserved-Women/Oral-Health-Care-During-Pregnancy-and-Through-the-Lifespan

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