A recent New York Times article revealed that too many pregnant women are not getting timely dental care. One reason is outdated thinking by dentists who are reluctant to treat pregnant women. In addition, many women fear that seeing a dentist while pregnant may be risky.
According to the most current American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists guidelines, however, teeth cleanings and dental X-rays are safe for pregnant women, and ob-gyns are advised to encourage patients to see a dentist during pregnancy.
“We strongly recommend that pregnant moms get regular teeth cleanings and exams during pregnancy,” says Alameda Pediatric Dentistry’s Dr. Sharine Thenard. “Good oral health has been shown to decrease cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other disorders.”
The practice recommends routine and preventative dental care for expecting moms, including dental X-rays with shielding of the thyroid and abdomen. The results should benefit kids, as well, who’ll experience lower risk of exposure to cavity-causing bacteria.
“Delaying treatment can lead to more complex or extensive dental problems,” Dr. Thenard says of waiting until pregnancy is over. “Treatment such as root canals, extractions, and fillings of untreated cavities can be done at any time during pregnancy safely and comfortably. And again, the cleaner and healthier the mom’s mouth is, the healthier her children’s mouths usually are as well!”
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Photo (featured): Ken Hammond/Wikimedia Commons