Should An Expectant Mother Still Have Their Teeth Cleaned?
We all know the importance of staying healthy. Whether it’s what we eat and drink, or exercising, or regular trips to the doctor to ensure our internal health, we all have to take care of ourselves. This includes our mouths and teeth as well.
No matter what age we are, dental cleanings and checkups are extremely important for everyone. But are they safe for an expectant mother?
What Is a Dental Cleaning?
Good oral health is important for everyone, even the expectant mother.
Professional dental cleanings, also known as a prophylaxis, is something that you should have done no less than twice per year. During the appointment, many things take place:
- oral cancer screening
- dental x-rays to examine inside and in between teeth to look for decay
- removal of plaque and tartar buildup
- application of fluoride
- evaluation for self care
Since plaque and tartar buildup is so damaging to your teeth, it is very important to make sure you schedule and keep your regular dental cleanings. It’s also the only way to know if decay is present, as often, a tooth won’t hurt until it’s too late, and you need expensive dental work.
Periodontal Scaling and Root Planing
However, for some patients, a dental cleaning isn’t quite enough to keep the buildup at bay. In these cases, periodontal disease is most likely present, and your dentist and hygienist will recommend what is called a periodontal scaling and root planing. This is a deeper cleaning, one that will get each surface of each tooth, as well as anything below the gums out of your mouth. Often a patient needs to be numb for this procedure, but it is very beneficial to treating periodontal disease, something that can make you lose your teeth and the very bone in your jaws!
After a patient has periodontal scaling and root planing, it is important for them to come in more often than every six months for their cleanings. Instead, the dentist and hygienist may recommend once every three or four months instead. This is to let the dental staff ensure that the treatment is working, and to clean the patient’s teeth using special equipment to make sure the treatment sticks. This type of cleaning is called a periodontal maintenance.
Is It Safe for an Expectant Mother?
Definitely. In fact, it’s even more important do ensure you make and keep your regular dental cleanings and checkups while pregnant.
Expectant mothers are more susceptible to gingivitis. If it isn’t taken care of as soon as possible, can lead to more advanced gum disease. In addition, the bacteria from gingivitis and periodontal disease travels through your bloodstream – something that goes directly to your unborn child.
Although infants aren’t born with bacteria that causes decay, many children develop it within their first few years – and they most likely are exposed to it from their mother.
Can My Gum Disease Be A Danger To My Child?
Studies have shown that a little over ten percent of babies are born prematurely. Women with a history of this, along with those carrying more than one fetus tend to give birth early. However, it has recently been discovered that women with periodontal disease are more likely than others to have a premature birth.
The best treatment for periodontal disease is something called scaling and root planing. This is something your doctor at Affiliated Dentists is trained to perform. It has been researched and deemed safe for mother and unborn child up through the second trimester.
Once a child is born, it is very fragile and susceptible to outside threats to their health, one of which is still periodontal disease. Kissing, sharing utensils, and any other times saliva is shared with your child means a risk that you are transferring the bacteria to them.
To prevent spreading periodontal disease to a child regardless of their age, an expectant mother should stay on top of their own oral health. It is important to:
- Maintain dental check ups
- Follow dentist’s recommendations for necessary treatment
- Brush and floss regularly every single day
- Use products containing Xylitol
Are Dental X-Rays Safe for an Expectant Mother?
Many people think that dental x-rays are unsafe for the expectant mother. In truth, they are very safe – and very important – while pregnant. The radiation emitted from the diagnostic x-ray is extremely low. Research has shown that the amount of radiation from a dental x-ray is not a threat to an unborn baby. It is still a good idea to wear a leaded apron, and follow the dental professional’s instructions when in need of a dental x-ray.
Whether a woman is expecting or not, it is crucial to their health to maintain their regular dental cleanings and check ups.