A host of myths surround visiting a dentist during pregnancy. Preying on the understandable anxieties of pregnant women such scare stories belie the fact that maintaining adequate dental care is of the utmost importance during pregnancy. Indeed, pregnant women are highly susceptible to a number of dental conditions and as a result, face increased oral care challenges. Challenges which, incidentally, can be best mitigated through professional intervention. By targeting accumulations of plaque, dental cleaning while pregnant can prove particularly valuable in terms of preventing dental issues from escalating into more serious complaints.
Dental Cleaning as a Preventive Measure
The hormonal and lifestyle changes which accompany pregnancy place a slew of additional stresses on dental care. For example, the increasing prevalence of tooth decay during pregnancy is attributed to a number of agglomerating factors such as the increased consumption of carbohydrates among expectant mothers and the fact that owing to morning sickness, tooth brushing can become less agreeable.
Pregnant women are also susceptible to gingivitis. Although initially relatively benign, gingivitis, if left unchecked, can soon develop into periodontal disease, which itself can act as a gateway to a range of more serious complications spanning from tooth loss to the spread of infectious bacteria. This later complication is particularly pernicious as it could entail negative consequences for the unborn child.
Additionally, pregnant women can be prone to enamel erosion. This condition ensues when morning sickness elevates oral acid levels beyond the norm. In turn, the excess acid can then proceed to erode the teeth.
Fortunately, dental cleaning can help nip such conditions in the bud before they escalate. Of course, that’s not to say that pregnant women should rely on professional dental cleaning exclusively. It’s also important to brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss at least once. It should be noted that cumulatively the overall maintenance of good oral hygiene can help guard against premature delivery and low birth weights.
Getting the Best Care
In this regard, a critical first step is for an expectant mother to inform their dentist that they are pregnant. From there, the dental team can devise the most appropriate care plan going forward. Moreover, staff can make visits more comfortable by adjusting the dental chair to accommodate the needs of a pregnant patient. In this respect the patient’s sitting position can be modified in various ways, including;
- Keeping head higher than feet
- Frequent changes of position
- Placing in a semi-reclined position
When To Go
Ideally, dental cleaning while pregnant should be conducted during the second trimester or early in the third trimester. Visits during the first trimester are discouraged as the fetus is still developing, while dental treatment later in the third trimester introduces a risk of premature delivery.
Additionally, scheduling an appointment prior to becoming pregnant has been found to help reduce subsequent stress levels regarding dental visits during pregnancy.