Set­ting up a healthy hy­giene rou­tine

MAIN­TAIN­ING DEN­TAL HEALTH DUR­ING PREG­NANCY

201 Family - - CONTENTS - – LINDA PER­ILLO ZAZ­ZALI

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

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