Good Prenatal Dental Health a Win-Win for Mother and Child
I am often asked by my patients if it’s safe and necessary to go to the dentist while they are pregnant.
To this, I answer yes and yes.
It’s not only safe, but it is essential for pregnant women to get routine dental care and treatment for dental disease. Robust dental health during pregnancy benefits both the mother and the developing child.
Why should pregnant women keep up with their dental appointments?
- Poor dental health can affect the developing baby’s health. Some studies show a link between gum or periodontal disease and preterm birth.
- If the mother has active tooth decay and gum disease, the disease-causing bacteria can be transmitted to the child by saliva and sharing of utensils.
- Pregnant women with morning sickness experience increased risk of acid erosion of teeth which is another reason to see the dentist.
- The hormones that surge to promote the pregnancy can also create increase the chance of developing gingivitis or worsen existing gum disease. It’s important to keep the inflammation levels throughout the body to a minimum, and this includes inflammation of the gums.
Besides seeing the dentist regularly, there are other routine oral health practices that promote the health of the mother and the unborn child.
- Brush and floss twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste. It’s especially important to brush and floss before bed time.
- Keep consumption of foods with fermentable carbohydrates, and drinking of juice and sodas to meal times only. In between meal snacking and drinking of sugared beverages increases the risk of caries.
- Use a fluoride mouth rinse before bed time.
- Take prenatal vitamins with folic acid regularly. This reduces the risk of cleft lip and palate, and other birth defects in your developing child .
- Eat healthy meals rich in protein, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, C and D.
Dr. Rebecca Cornille, DDS
Director: Dental Health Services