Monday, June 23, 2008

Pregnancy and Dental Care

On Friday, I was interviewed by a writer for Pregnancy and Newborn magazine. It got me to thinking that there are women out there, who might not consider the dental health perspective when trying to get pregnant. Having an optimally healthy mouth while you are pregnant is a fantastic start. Ideally routine dentistry should be done prior to pregnancy.

My pregnant patients often come with concerns about their gums bleeding when they brush. The hormones, estrogen and progesterone surge during pregnancy resulting in an exaggerated response of gum tissue to plaque called "pregnancy gingivitis". Pregnancy may also bring about "pregnancy tumors" which , in spite the scary name, are non-cancerous inflammatory overgrowths of gum tissue. That's why, it's even more important to work at your home care with proper brushing and flossing to remove plaque. If you are pregnant, continue routine tooth cleaning and exams. At our offices, we only take x-rays on pregnant patients for emergencies and recommend waiting on elective dentistry until after the birth of the baby.

Again, the take home message is prevention. See your dentist before getting pregnant to avoid foreseeable dental emergencies. During pregnancy, be extra diligent about oral hygiene. Brush 2-3 times a days paying special attention to remove plaque right at the gum line, and remember to floss every night. Just remember, if you don't think you have time now... just wait until the baby comes!

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