Healthy Teeth for a Healthy Baby: Establishing the Link between Oral Health and a Healthy Pregnancy
It is now believed that infections account for 30% to 50% of all premature and low-birthweight deliveries.
Gum diseases are among the infections that can lead to these outcomes. However, gum disease can be easily treated and prevented – far more easily than the problems that can result in infancy when gum disease goes untreated in pregnant women.
If you are trying to get pregnant, see your dentist first so any existing dental problems can be addressed before you get pregnant. However, if you aren’t able to see your dentist before getting pregnant, it’s not too late to seek dental care.
- As soon as you find out you are pregnant, see your dentist for a professional cleaning and an evaluation of your gums.
- Brush at least twice a day, floss once a day and use an antimicrobial mouth rinse to prevent pregnancy gingivitis.
- Avoid sugary foods and drinks.
- Frequent cleanings during pregnancy will enable your dentist to monitor the health of your gums and address any problems that arise.
- Pay careful attention to your teeth and gums during pregnancy and report any signs of gum disease to your dentist right away.
- Continue to see your dentist after delivery, especially in the first three months, and remember to take your child for his/her first dental visit at the age of 12 months.
If you do experience gum disease during pregnancy, it should be treated as soon as possible. Gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease, can usually be eliminated with professional cleaning. During the cleaning (also referred to as scaling), plaque and tartar (plaque that has built up and hardened on the tooth surface) will be removed from above and below the gum line of the teeth. Root planing can also be performed to treat gum disease. During root planing, rough spots on the tooth root are smoothed, giving the gums a clean surface to attach to. Surgical procedures can be performed to treat more serious cases of gum disease. As you prepare for the arrival of your little one, take care to practice good oral hygiene and seek regular care from a dental professional. Not only will you preserve your dental health, you’ll be taking important steps to protect the health of your baby.
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