prenatal dental care

Is Prenatal Dental Care on your Checklist

prenatal dental carePoway and Rancho Bernardo, CA

When you are pregnant, the number of responsibilities you have can feel overwhelming. You have to monitor what you eat and how much rest you are getting, while also managing all the appointments with your obstetrician and doing all the things it takes to prepare for the new arrival to your family. With so much to do, it’s human nature that certain things may fall through the cracks, but maintaining a regular schedule of dental appointments is not something you want to neglect. Your Poway dentist at Smiles By Dr. Cook wants to explain why professional oral care is even more important when you are expecting.

Good oral health during pregnancy protects both the mother and the baby

Pregnancy increases the risk of certain oral health issues—especially gum disease, a bacterial infection of the gum tissue that can cause tooth loss and even make you more vulnerable to cardiac problems. Poor oral hygiene also can impact the health of your baby; new moms who neglect their teeth and mouth are more likely to give birth to a newborn with low birth weight. Despite all these reasons, recent research found that, over a three-year span, 35 percent of all women in the United States had not been to their dentist within the previous calendar year—and 56 percent of women did not see their dentist at any point during their pregnancy.

Your entire body—even your mouth—experiences big changes during pregnancy

When a woman becomes pregnant, she undergoes significant hormonal changes. These surges in hormones can make your gums more susceptible to the bacteria that cause gum disease. If you are pregnant and fail to engage in daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into tartar more quickly than it would under normal conditions. From there, that tartar can lead to the development of gingivitis, the initial stage of gum disease, typified by gums that are swollen, tender, and bleed easily. Gingivitis can develop as early as the second month of pregnancy. Left untreated, the hormonal changes accelerate a case of gum disease, which quickly can develop into the more serious stage known as periodontitis. By then, there has been permanent damage done to your teeth and mouth.

How gum disease affects your baby

If you are pregnant and develop gum disease, the excess of bacteria in your mouth and gum tissue can filter into the bloodstream. From there, this bacteria can be carried to the uterus, where they trigger the production of chemicals known as prostaglandins, which are proven scientifically to be linked to low birth weight and even premature birth. 

In short, to protect yourself and your baby during pregnancy, make sure to see your dentist at least once every six months! Actually, your Poway dentist at Smiles By Dr. Cook suggests scheduling an appointment at your earliest convenience after you learn you become pregnant. From there, you and Dr. Cook can work together to come up with a treatment plan that will carry you over the course of the entire pregnancy.

Prenatal dental care in Poway

In any situation, for any patient, prevention is the best defense against potential oral health issues. Do your part by eating a healthy diet, brushing and flossing on a daily basis and, of course, avoid using tobacco in any form.

Pregnancy can be an exciting time in your life. Make sure your teeth and mouth stay healthy by seeking the services of a professional and expertly trained dentist like Smiles By Dr. Cook. To learn more about our services or schedule a tour of our facility in Poway, call us at (858) 673-0141 or contact Smiles By Dr. Cook today. We welcome patients of Poway and Rancho Bernardo, California.