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Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, and Oral Care

Family Dentist Services Methuen, MAExpectant mothers and new mothers have a lot to think about. So much, in fact, that dental care may be a thought that goes right out the window. Sometimes, mothers believe that dental visits could actually do more harm than good. We want to dispel this myth and provide clear information on how an expectant or new mother can ensure her oral health does not suffer during this eventful time in life.

Is it safe to see the dentist during pregnancy?

This is one misconception that could cause a great deal of problems for a woman who foregoes dental care because of it. The National Institutes of Health proposes that routine dental checkups and cleanings are advantageous for pregnant women, and even for women who are planning to become pregnant. Early and consistent care throughout pregnancy can offset the biological changes that occur throughout these nine months.

Specific Risks to Watch

The most common issue that expectant mothers face in terms of their oral health is gingivitis. The reason for this increased risk is that a rise in progesterone leads to heightened acidity in the mouth. The more acidic the mouth is, the more likely it is that inflammation will occur. Redness, bleeding when brushing or flossing, and bad breath are warning signs that dental care is needed as soon as possible. It isn’t that gingivitis is dangerous to mother or baby, but that early treatment for this condition can prevent unnecessary damage such as extensive gum recession.

That being said, gingivitis is progressive and will lead to gum disease if not treated. Gum disease has been identified as a risk factor for preterm birth as well as low birth weight.

Tooth decay is also a problem that may be encountered by pregnant and nursing mothers. During pregnancy, the risk of decay is related to oral acidity. Breastfeeding mothers, on the other hand, lose as much as 5% of their bone mass due to the calcium their baby is receiving.

Pregnant and nursing mothers need good self-care that includes regular visits to the dentist. Additionally, risks for tooth decay can be diminished with a quality calcium and vitamin D supplement.

We are committed to seeing our patients through the unique needs they meet as they go through life. Call our Methuen or Windham office for your visit with our friendly team.