Setting up a healthy hygiene routine
MAINTAINING DENTAL HEALTH DURING PREGNANCY
One thing a pregnant woman doesn’t want to hear is that she needs any type of extensive prenatal dental work. How do you keep root canals from being a part of your pregnancy calendar? Good dental hygiene from the onset is key. But should the routine change while pregnant? “Assuming she is already taking good care of her teeth, no,” Dr. Joseph DelPrete, a solo practictioner in Franklin Lakes, says. “She should be brushing at least twice per day and going to regular professional dental visits.” However, a woman’s dental situation does go through some changes along with everything else in her body. “Due to hormonal changes, a pregnant woman usually sees an increase in bleeding in her gums,” DelPrete says. “With good hygiene, this can be minimized or even eliminated.” Pregnant moms tend to snack more than they normally would – and not always on the healthiest treats. “Therefore, better brushing and flossing are needed to keep the gums and teeth healthy,” he adds. It’s important to remember a little extra care might keep the tooth fairy from hovering over mom instead of her kids. If major prenatal dental work is needed then a big fear is obviously the use of anesthesia as women worry about the possibility of drugs entering their system and meddling with the perfect pregnancy. DelPrete says anesthesia will not harm the baby, though dentists usually minimize epinephrine as to not increase the baby’s heart rate.
“It is OK to have needed dental work during pregnancy,” he says. “The second trimester is usually the preferred time since the baby is more developed.”
As for X-rays, “Radiographs are also OK, as long as a lead shield is used to cover the abdomen and low dose digital radiographs are used,” DelPrete says.
Post-natal care should be as diligent as prenatal going forward. DelPrete notes that there may be some increased bleeding in the gum tissue, but usually no significant changes.
“Good home care and regular dental check-ups are very important during pregnancy,” he says. “There has been a link to low birth weight babies when a pregnant mother has periodontal disease.”
So, start looking at your toothbrush lovingly even before you conceive and make it your friend. It is important for you and your baby that you start with good oral hygiene and continue it while you are pregnant. Everybody benefits. Happy brushing!
“IT IS OK TO HAVE NEEDED DENTAL WORK DURING PREGNANCY.” Dr. Joseph DelPrete Franklin Lakes