Poway and San Diego, CA
Good oral health is important at any stage of life. If you are pregnant, however, maintaining good oral health is especially crucial.
According to the University of Pacific’s School of Dentistry, up to 40 percent of pregnant women suffer from periodontitis, an advanced stage of gum disease. Why is this a problem? Periodontal disease can occur due to a lack of oral hygiene or, in the case of pregnancy, may be contributed to hormone fluctuations. If left untreated, periodontal disease during pregnancy increase a woman’s risk of developing gum disease, which can cause preterm birth or low birth weight. Mothers with poor oral health also can pass cavity-causing bacteria to their young children.
As a result, it is no surprise that the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises all pregnant women to receive oral health care and counseling about their oral health during the entire course of their pregnancy.
We suggest the following regimen of oral health for pregnant women or the mothers of young infants.
- Make regular visits to your dentist. During these visits, the dental hygienist will thoroughly clean your teeth, removing tartar buildup – the building block of periodontal disease, from around your gums and teeth. The dental hygienist may also measure gum depth by using a specially designed dental instrument that slides between your teeth. Afterward, the dentist will examine your mouth for any changes in your oral health. If a problem does arise, the dentist will discuss with you if treatment is safe to undergo now or if you should wait until after you deliver your baby.
- Practice good oral hygiene at home – brush twice a day and floss daily. Use fluoridated toothpaste (look for any brand that has the American Dental Association seal of recommendation) and an alcohol-free mouthwash containing at least .05 percent sodium fluoride. This at-home regimen of daily preventive care will maintain low levels of bacterial plaque, which leads to tooth decay, and gum disease.
- Maintain a healthy diet, minimizing the consumption of foods and beverages that are high in sugar and starch. Not only is this healthier for your mouth, but also is good for your body and your baby. For oral health protection when you are not able to brush, chew gum that contains xylitol, which can decrease the number of oral bacteria that may accumulate after eating meals. If you can, however, brush after eating a meal or a snack.
Pregnant women should be sure to consult their obstetrician for any special instructions related to oral health care, also be sure to provide their dentist with a complete list of all medications and prenatal vitamins, as these may affect the course of dental treatment.
At Smiles by Dr. Cook, we can provide both routine oral health care for pregnant women and also treat gum disease. In addition, we welcome patients of all ages. To schedule an appointment, please call (858) 673-0141 or contact Smiles by Dr. Cook today. We welcome patients of Carmel Mountain, Poway, and Rancho Bernardo, California.