Dental Health During Pregnancy
Pregnancy should be a joyful time. Making the right choices will help improve your overall health and prevent oral problems that can affect the health of your unborn child.
Because hormone levels rise considerably during pregnancy, a woman is more likely to develop gingivitis (periodontal disease) – an infection of the gums that causes swelling, bleeding and tenderness. Studies indicate that pregnant women who have severe periodontal disease may be at an increased risk for pre-term delivery therefore increasing the risk of having a low-birth weight baby. To lessen the risk, frequent cleanings are recommended starting in the second trimester.
Some pregnant women develop ‘pregnancy tumors’ on their gums. These appear as a large lump with red markings. They are caused by a reaction between food particles, plaque and bacteria. They’re not cancerous, don’t spread and usually go away after the birth of the baby.
Untreated dental infections can pose a risk to the fetus and dental treatment may be necessary to maintain the health of the mother and child. If x-rays are absolutely necessary during pregnancy, safety precautions are taken by using a leaded apron with a thyroid collar which provides ultimate protection to the neck area minimizing exposure. Some dentists, such as Dr. Romano, use ‘digital imaging’ which uses less radiation than the typical x-ray.
Your dentist may need to use prescribed medication as part of your treatment so it’s important to tell him/her about any medications or supplements you’re taking while you’re pregnant. Some medications are safe to take during pregnancy and your dentist or prenatal health care provider will provide you with information on which medication is right for you.
Nutrition is vital during pregnancy because the baby gets nutrients from its mother’s system. Pregnant women can lessen the risk of tooth decay and increase the health of their baby by eating well balanced, nutritious meals and limiting sweets and ‘junk’ foods from their diets.