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Pregnancy And Dental Health

pregnant_smilingDental health is particularly important during pregnancy, because the mother’s dental health can have a direct impact on the child—both short and long term.  There are certain dental conditions directly related to pregnancy, and there is even a substance in oral bacteria that may bring on labor and premature birth.

Changes in hormones during pregnancy cause gingivitis in almost half of all women.  If a woman has gingivitis before becoming pregnant, the condition can be worsened.  For this reason, if you’re planning on becoming pregnant, it’s important to visit your dentist first.  Your dentist will address any oral health conditions and recommend a plan of action prior to you becoming pregnant.  Before starting a pregnancy is also a good time to get new dental x-rays and to have any procedures that might involve drugs or anesthesia done.

The American Dental Association created a series of guidelines for pregnancy oral health.  In addition to educating expectant mothers of the importance of good oral health, the guidelines recommend:

• Teeth cleanings to remove bacterial plaque from teeth and gums during pregnancy to assist in lowering the instance of premature birth and low birth-weight in infants.
• Using fluoride toothpaste and an over-the-counter alcohol-free fluoride rinse to help reduce the amount of plaque in the mouth.
• Nutrition – Limiting sugar intake assists in limiting plaque buildup.
• Tooth Decay Treatment – It is important for pregnant mothers to receive treatment to remove bacteria related to tooth decay and exhibits no health threats during the pregnancy.
• Transmission of Bacteria – Not sharing food and utensils is critical to preventing the transfer of bacteria that can cause decay or gingivitis.
• Use of Xylitol Gum – To decrease potential threat of tooth decay in children, researchers recommend mothers chew xylitol gum several times each day.

There are other oral conditions that can be brought on by pregnancy.  In some women, overgrowths of tissue called “pregnancy tumors” appear on the gums, most often during the second trimester. These are non-cancerous.  They are located between the teeth and may be related to excess plaque.  They can bleed easily, and have a raw-looking appearance.  They usually disappear after the baby is born, but if you have questions or concerns, let your dentist know.

It’s actually important to let your dentist know about any changes in your mouth during pregnancy, and to carefully monitor your dental health.

At Charlotte Dentistry®, we have a number of patients who are expecting, and we strongly encourage them to contact us regularly with any questions or concerns they may have.  We understand that pregnancy is an especially important time to be health-conscious, and we’re more than happy to help you understand what’s going on with your dental health during this time.

You can call us any time, schedule an appointment, or use the “Ask the Expert” feature on our website to get answers to your questions.  We’re also delighted to help you start looking ahead to planning good dental care for your new child as he or she grows.

Bring your whole family to one convenient location for all their dental needs.
…Treat Others As You Would Have Them Treat You … Matthew 7:12