• What Do I Need to Know About Oral Health and Pregnancy?

    What do I need to know about oral health in pregnancy?

    It is important for expectant mothers to maintain their great dental routine for good oral hygiene in pregnancy, as research has shown that the bad oral health of a pregnant mother may affect the health of their baby adversely.

    In one study it was found that women who had pre-term infants with a low birth weight had significantly worse periodontal disease than women with full-term babies of a healthy birth weight.

    Low pre-term birth weight is a real problem because it is connected to 60% of all infant mortality. Low birth weight can also create long-term effects such as physical disabilities and retarded development.

    For your personal safety, your dentist will suggest elective dental procedures be put off until after delivery of your child. Some treatments, such as getting teeth cleaned can be safely performed while you are expectant and keeping up great oral hygiene in pregnancy is very important.

    Emergency treatment should be sought any time during your pregnancy no matter which trimester. Having said that, the best time to deal with dental disease such as cavities is during the second trimester.

    Things to bear in mind if getting dental treatment during pregnancy is that your dentist will want the you to be in a comfortable position to avoid syncope or supine hypotension. Which may place you in a different sitting position to usual when you go for a checkup.

    If an x-ray is needed during pregnancy, your dentist will insist on the patient wearing a lead apron to protect the mother and foetus.

    Prescriptions that should be avoided are ones that are considered teratogenic such as streptomycin, tetracycline, erythromycin estolate doxycycline and benzodiazepines. Both your GP (doctor) and dentist will be familiar with the risks of these medications.

    If a local anaesthetic has to be used, it should be one that has a vasoconstrictor. Nitrous oxides should be avoided during the first trimester. Again, talk to your dentist to get the reassurance you need that they are familiar with the change in protocols for treating pregnant patients.

    If you are planning your pregnancy, then consider having any dental concerns addressed before you become pregnant to have peace of mind. This will mean you have one less thing to worry about.

    With a good oral routine and preventative dental care, emergency dental procedures are less likely to occur and most dental problems in pregnancy can be avoided. A healthy mouth directly impacts on the health of your baby so it is worth being mindful of your dental routines during this time.

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