July 06, 2016 | by Gina
Oral Care During Pregnancy: A Guide
Have you ever heard the old myth that an unborn baby “takes the calcium from your teeth?” Or perhaps you’ve heard a beloved grandparent say that she “lost a tooth for each baby?” Misinformation abounds in terms of prenatal dental health, and while you may know that these myths are false, you may not know specifically what preventative steps to take before, during, and after your pregnancy. What treatments are considered safe? What are the real risks of dental disease to you and your baby? What changes can be expected?
Pregnancy creates complex changes throughout the body, many of which affect oral health. While calcium and tooth loss are not typical of a pregnancy, some of the changes may include:
Pregnancy gingivitis: Approximately 40% of pregnant women have some form of periodontal (gum and supportive bone) disease (3). An increased inflammatory response causes the gingivae to swell and bleed during this time. In other words, you may not have more plaque, but your response to it is more aggravated. This typically peaks during the third trimester. Rinsing with saltwater may help with the irritating symptoms of pregnancy gingivitis. Mix 1 teaspoon of salt with 1 cup of warm water for a soothing rinse.
Benign oral lesions: Also known as pyogenic granulomas, granuloma gravidarum, or epulis of pregnancy, these occur in about 5% of pregnancies. They are a highly vascular, sometimes raised lesion that usually occur in the attached gums in the front of the mouth. They are also caused by the increased inflammatory response, and usually regress after pregnancy with no need for excision or treatment, unless they are very painful or interfere with chewing or talking. Have your dental professional observe and diagnose the lesion if one occurs.
Tooth mobility: The same chemical signals sent by your body that loosen the ligaments to accommodate your growing baby loosen other ligaments as well. Ever wonder why your feet get bigger? Ligaments attach the small bones in your feet, too. Your teeth are supported by ligaments and bone, and mobility during pregnancy is normal, and should not result in tooth loss unless periodontal disease is also present.
Tooth erosion: Increased exposure to gastric acids (via heartburn or chronic vomiting) can erode tooth enamel. Antacids can keep the acids at bay, and rinsing often with a teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water can neutralize the strong acids that may be present in the mouth.
Dental caries: Increased acidity in the mouth, more frequent snacking, and an increase in processed or sugary drinks and snacks, and a decrease in attention to oral hygiene can all cause an increase in dental decay and cavities.
The good news is that preventative and restorative dental care is safe during pregnancy, and is not associated with any negative outcomes to the mother or child. This means that treating gum disease, and maintaining oral health is the most prudent choice during pregnancy. Keeping the mother’s oral environment healthy keeps tissues stable and prevents problems, certainly, for her at a minimum, and potentially for the baby as well.
What treatments and medications are safe to use during pregnancy? Chlorhexidene rinses, fluoride treatments, and xylitol-containing products have no reported adverse effects on mothers or infants, and are considered safe for use. For restorative care and urgent treatment needs, there are antibiotics that are considered safe in the case of infection, as well as localized anesthetics (such as Lidocaine, Bupivacaine, and Mepivicaine - with or without epinephrine) that may be used during pregnancy (2). Dental radiographs (with a thyroid and abdominal barrier) are considered safe by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist, and the American Dental Association. At Monroe Street Family Dental, we wait on routine radiographs until after the pregnancy, unless an urgent need is outlined, and the risk of undiagnosed problems supersedes the cautionary delay.
Brushing 2-3 times daily, and not skipping out on the flossing is crucial during pregnancy to keep plaque at bay, and to prevent gum disease and dental decay. Limit sugary and processed snacks, and limit the frequency of these snacks as well (frequency is the number one contributor to dental decay.)
At Monroe Street Family Dental, we understand that sometimes cravings can’t be denied, and that exhaustion sometimes can’t be avoided - while you do your best, we will be right there with you. MSFD recommends that pregnant women come in for an extra preventative visit, for a professional cleaning and an application of fluoride. We support you and want to help you to be happy and healthy - baby, too!
References and Resources:
(1) The “Healthy Smiles for Mom and Baby Advisory Board,” a division of the Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Perinatal and Infant Oral Health plan is available at www.chawisconsin.org/hsmb. Retrieved June 2016, Advisory Board Statement received June 2016.
(2) Oral Health Care During Pregnancy Expert Workgroup, 2012. Oral Health Care During Pregnancy: A National Consensus Statement. Washington, DC: National Maternal & Child Oral Health Resource Center.
(3) Oral Health Care During Pregnancy and Through the Lifespan. Committee Opinion No. 569. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol 2013; 122: 417-22.
January 12, 2018
Flash Sale on Invisalign
Start off 2018 with a straighter and brighter smile! We are having a FLASH sale on Invisalign - only through January 31st 2018!
September 27, 2017
Erosion: What You Can Do
Erosion occurs when acids wear away at the tooth enamel over time. Read more for find out how it occurs and what you can do to prevent or treat teeth with erosion.
July 19, 2017
Invisalign - Why the Time is Now
Read more to find out how you can achieve a straighter and healthier smile.
April 17, 2017
Tips on How to Prepare Your Child for a Filling Visit
Here are some tips if your child has an appointment for a cavity.
February 13, 2017
Health History – Now Paperless
If you've been to our office lately, you may have noticed a change with our check-in process. We have introduced electronic health history forms.
January 15, 2017
How to Prepare for Your Child's First Visit to the Dentist
Dr. Farrow recommends children have their first dental visit after their first birthday. Learn how to prepare yourself and your child for their first visit to the dentist.
October 05, 2016
To Floss or Not to Floss?
Have you read the recent articles debunking the recommendations to floss daily? Read more about Gina's and Dr. Farrow's reflections and response to those articles.
August 15, 2016
We now offer dental implant services at Monroe Street Family Dental. Read more on why choosing a dental implant may be right for you.
July 21, 2016
Invisalign Promotion - Summer 2016
Monroe Street Family Dental is excited to offer an incredible package to help get you the smile you’ve always wanted!
July 06, 2016
Oral Care During Pregnancy: A Guide
Misinformation abounds in terms of prenatal dental health. Read more to know specifically what preventative steps to take before, during, and after your pregnancy.
May 04, 2016
The Healthy Baby Exam
What is a healthy baby exam and why is it important?
April 11, 2016
The Early Orthodontic Evaluation
Many parents with young children have questions about orthodontics: Will my son or daughter need braces? When do you start? How much will it cost?
March 24, 2016
“No-Drill Dentistry” on NPR’s Your Health
Is fluoride good for you and does Dr. Farrow recommend it? Read more...
March 02, 2016
Chicago Midwinter - What's at a Dental Convention?
Whatever your industry - everyone has a conference. What's at a dental convention and why does Dr. Farrow and his team attend? Read more to find out about their latest trip to Chicago for the Chicago Dental Society Midwinter Meeting.
February 18, 2016
Managing Dental Anxiety
Going to the dentist can cause anxiety and this a normal reaction. Whether it is a specific fear (i.e needles, sounds, painful past experiences) or nervousness about the entire experience, we would like to know how you are feeling.
January 29, 2016
Preventing Overkill in Modern Dental Care
This past summer, I had the pleasure of reading an insightful article in the New Yorker by surgeon Atul Gawande, entitled “Overkill.” Its central thesis is that our health care system is wrought with overtreatment and unnecessary care.
December 28, 2015
Changes for State of Wisconsin Employees
2016 brings big changes to State of Wisconsin employees who previously had Momentum as their dental insurance administrator.
December 07, 2015
End of 2015 News
The end of year is upon us and we hope 2015 has been a wonderful year for you and your loved ones.
November 02, 2015
Options in Orthodontics: Stick with Your Dentist
Have you considered Invisalign as an adult for a straighter smile. Learn why your dentist may be the best person to help you with orthodontic treatment.
October 19, 2015
Oil Pulling: Is the Benefit Real?
Have you heard of “oil pulling"? This natural health trend is being touted by many as having curative properties.
September 30, 2015
Insurance Open Enrollment
The month of October brings open enrollment for dental benefits, and we encourage you to review your options. Read more to review some of options that may affect you.
September 21, 2015
For many students back to school also means participating in sports. A mouthguard is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be standard equipment from an early age.
August 05, 2015
E-Cigarettes: Their Threat to Your General and Dental Health
Learn more about e-cigarettes and how they can affect your health.
July 15, 2015
Probiotics and Your Oral Health
Several of our patients over the past year have asked about the probiotics and oral health.
June 24, 2015
Team Trip to San Francisco
Last week the entire team traveled to San Francisco for the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) conference and convocation for Dr. Farrow. Learn more about our trip!
March 06, 2015
Join Our Sustainability Commitment
Did you know the average person wastes at least 90 glasses of water every day by leaving the tap running while they brush their teeth?
February 15, 2015
What is Holistic Dentistry?
Many people that we have met in the last 5 years have asked us if our office practices “holistic dentistry.” We see our unique approach to holistic dentistry as one that broadens perspectives: whole person. whole community. whole planet.
March 17, 2014
Headaches and TMJ
Headaches are complex and can have many contributing factors. We have found that with careful diagnosis, we can relieve some headaches and improve patient's daily activities like eating and sleeping.
March 17, 2014
It's Not Just a Cleaning
Regular dental cleanings, with an exam, can do more than keep your smile attractive. Recent research suggests that the health of your mouth mirrors the condition of your body as a whole.