Misonceptions about teeth/gums during pregnancy. (RANT! Avoid if desired.)
I cant help but shake my head at some of the posts I see on here about teeth/gums during pregnancy and what I encounter day to day. I do not put any blame on you ladies, I blame the misinformation you are constantly being given that has been disproven and outdated.
I am a dental hygienist in the US, and we cooperate with the Medicaid system here that gives temporary medicaid to pregnant women. I have no idea how it runs in the UK or elsewhere, but I have noticed that while our medical eduation as a population has expanded, the common dental knowledge has never been updated, and that is the fault of your dental provider.
1. Your baby is not taking calcium from your teeth. They proved this years ago but its a common old wives tail that still circulates. Pregnancy affects your immune system, and correlates with cavities being about 10% immuno-caused. Also, you are eating more often, and your teeth and not getting the opportunity to remineralize between meals. This also leads to a higher decay rate. Throw in morning sickness and some women being unable to tolerate a toothbrush without gagging, or too exhausted to brush and floss, you are set up for failure.
2. Excessive vomiting/morning sickness. Obviously stomach acid is not intended for your teeth. If its a persistent problem and you are concerned, ask your dentist about fluoride trays.
3. Obviously, your hormones are changing. This can contribute to pregnancy gingivitis or "pink toothbrush syndrome." Keep up with your brushing and flossing, and you will be fine. It is safe to visit your dentist and have your teeth cleaned during your second trimester (UNLESS YOUR MEDICAL DR SAYS OTHERWISE!) It is, in fact, usually reccomended. They have an epinephrine-free anesthetic designed for this situation. If you have any concerns, then by all means wait until after baby, but dont beat yourself up about being a bad mom just because you had dental work done!
Sorry ladies. I mean this as education-only. You all face so much right now, and it has to be incredibley stressful wihtout having to worry about your teeth at a time like this. If you ever question what is or is not okay, ask your dentist and medical dr.
** DISCLAIMER: The huge "duh" here is to do everything with your Dr :P Im not AT ALL attempting to change what you have been told or tell you you're just all wrong. Do what is right for you in your particular situation. I meant this post as informational only that stemmed from an especially aggravating day at work!!
Got time to talk? I'm a NYTImes reporter who is doing a story about dental treatment during pregnancy. Would love to talk if you have time this week? If so email me to set up a time that works for both of us, stlouis at nytimes dot com. Thanks! Catherine
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