Pregnancy and Dental Health at Dental Health and Wellness Boston
At Dental Health and Wellness Boston, your Boston Dentist, addressing dental health concerns associated with pregnancy is a top priority. Our dental services are customized to meet your dental needs and ease any fear or anxiety you may have – we will create a personalized plan to ensure the best care for both you and your baby!
1. Does my dental health also affect my baby’s dental health?
Because your oral health can have an impact on the health of your child, Dental Health and Wellness Boston promotes practicing good oral hygiene and preventative dentistry which includes a visit to our Boston dentist office early in your pregnancy. The American Academy of Periodontology agrees that starting preventative treatments as early as possible will help minimize acute dental infections and sources of sepsis that can occur later in pregnancy.
Although you may have some concerns about undergoing dental treatment during your pregnancy, according to current research from the California Dental Association on maternal and fetal physiology has proven that providing dental care during pregnancy is far more beneficial than harmful. The Perinatal Oral Health Consensus Statement from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists explains, “Good oral health and control of oral disease protects a woman’s health and quality of life and has the potential to reduce the transmission of pathogenic bacteria from mothers to their children.” In fact, there is concern that a chemical called prostaglandin that the body produces in response to infection and inflammation could trigger early labor or preterm births and low birth weights.
At Dental Health and Wellness Boston, we are well-versed in the best, safest methods to provide proper, effective oral care for you and, in turn, for your baby. By anticipating the oral health risks early for both you and your baby, we can actually help prevent tooth decay and cavities the can develop early in your child’s life.
2. How do changes in my body during my pregnancy affect my dental health?
Changes in your immune system as well as hormonal fluctuation can have a variety of oral health implications. As your Boston dentist, we know that controlling the oral effects of these changes is key to minimize any risk of transmitting those same issues to your child (California Dental Association).
Progesterone levels increase over the course of your pregnancy which to can cause plaque build-up. These deposits can slightly move or loosen teeth – while there is generally no permanent loss of attachment, visiting Dental Health and Wellness Boston will allow us to closely monitor the progression of periodontitis.
Extra plaque resulting from hormone changes may also create single, tumor-like growths on your gums. As with tooth movement, these “pregnancy granuloma” are not serious problems and proper dental treatment from your Boston dentist including non-surgical dental procedures like dental scaling and root planing can easily combat such issues. The growth generally fades postpartum; however in some cases the growth is removed due to discomfort, disturbing the alignment of the teeth or bleeding on mastication.
Excessive dry mouth is another common occurrence. Dry mouth, caused by increases in metabolic processes and increases in the frequency of urination, is often thought of as more of an inconvenience than a dental health concern, but the lack of saliva production also leads to increased plaque buildup. In addition, during late pregnancy and during lactation, changes in salivary composition may increase the occurrences of enamel erosion and tooth decay. Maintaining consistent oral care with frequent fluoride exposure and plaque removal before sleep in your own home helps minimize any long-term effects.
Suppression of white blood cell production will also occur. Plaque-induced gingival inflammation can occur as the cells that usually offer additional protection are lower in number. By visiting your Boston dentist early and consulting us on oral issues throughout your pregnancy, we can offer the best dental options and at-home dental treatment plans for you!
3. Does morning sickness affect my teeth and gums?
Acid-induced erosion and enamel loss are common results of morning sickness. The longer the morning sickness persists during pregnancy, the more damage is caused by the stomach acid. Preventative dental care at our Boston dentist office as well as at-home treatment with enamel strengthening products such as G.C. MI Paste without fluoride or Colgate’s Luminous Enamel Strengthening Toothpaste are the best methods to combat this issue.
4. What is the most common dental issue I should be aware of?
Gum disease affects 15% of women of childbearing age and up to 40% of pregnant women. Due to the numerous hormonal and immune system changes your body undergoes, plaque accumulation most often leads to gingivitis, occurring in 60-75% of women between three and eight months of pregnancy. Your Boston dentist, Dental Health and Wellness Boston, provides extensive periodontal care during your pregnancy that is both safe and effective at reducing periodontal disease and periodontal pathogens.
5. As a well-respected Boston dentist, what services do you provide for pregnant women?
Aside from providing the best dental care possible, we also want to educate you and ease any concerns you have about receiving dental care. Our personalized plan for you includes:
- Development and discussion of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes periodontal (gum disease) evaluation, preventive, treatment and maintenance care throughout pregnancy
- Discussion of the benefits, risks and alternatives to treatments
- Providing emergency/acute care at any time during pregnancy as indicated by the oral condition of the patient
- Ensure all procedures, medications, and local anesthetics are safe, and consult with your pre-natal care provider when considering certain procedures
- Use safe amalgam removal techniques and a rubber dam when removing mercury containing fillings during restorative procedures. We do not use amalgam in the practice so placement is not a concern for our patients
- Creation of comfortable seating and placement of our pregnant patients in a semi-reclining position as tolerated, encouraging frequent position changes, and/or placing a small pillow under her hip to prevent postural hypotensive syndrome
- Recommendation that all women of childbearing age take a multivitamin supplement containing folic acid
- Supporting a woman’s decision to breastfeed and have ready access to patient education resources
- Reinforcement of tobacco and alcohol cessation and other medical recommendations at oral health office visits
- Providing health education and anticipatory guidance about oral health practices for children to prevent early childhood caries
- Encouraging and advising patients to continue to receive dental care during the postpartum period and thereafter