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Pregnant Women Should Not Postpone Dental Care

Aug 12, 2013

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Women have often been advised to avoid dental treatment while pregnant, but last week an obstetrics and gynecology group reported different findings.  The group is encouraging pregnant women to see their dentist and advises ob-gyns to perform dental health assessments at women’s first prenatal visit.

“We want ob-gyns to routinely counsel all of their patients, including pregnant women, about the importance of oral health to their overall health,” said Dr. Diana Cheng, vice-chairwoman of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women.

Poor oral health has been suspected of contributing to other diseases, including heart disease, strokes, and respiratory infections. Last week we reported on poor oral health increasing the possibility of getting Alzheimer’s disease.  Dental Wire has also provided information on the link between dental health and fertility.

The most recent study noted that 35% of all women said they had not seen a dentist in the past year and 40% of pregnant women in the U.S. have cavities or gum disease.

"We can all reassure our patients that routine teeth cleanings, dental X-rays and local anesthesia are safe during pregnancy," Dr. Cheng said. "Pregnancy is not a reason to delay root canals or filling cavities if they are needed because putting off treatment may lead to further complications."

The most common dental problem pregnant women experience is pregnancy gingivitis. This is caused by hormonal changes and results in redder, swollen or bleeding gums. It can start in the 16th week of pregnancy and usually peaks around the 8th month, tapering off after giving birth.

Good oral hygiene is encouraged to minimize the effects of pregnancy gingivitis: brush twice daily for two minutes at a time and floss regularly. Using an antimicrobial mouth rinse can also help control gum inflammation. A professional tooth cleaning can also help and can be done at any time.

Another reason to not avoid dental treatment while pregnant is it may lessen the transmission of cavity-causing bacteria from mother to baby. This can help reduce the child’s risk of cavities.

Sources:, HealthDay, US News & World Report, WebMD

Copyright 2013, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC

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