Dr. Amanda Tavoularis – dentably.com
There’s a lot of information out there for pregnant and breastfeeding women, but unfortunately, not all of it is good. Oral health and visiting the dentist is one such area where there is a lot of misinformation. It’s not only frustrating to be told a dental myth, but it can also be harmful if you don’t recognize the truth behind it. I’ve practiced dentistry for over 20 years, so I’ve heard my share of dental myths and have worked to help spread good information. I’ve put together the top myths I hear pregnant and nursing women being told and hopefully can add some good information that will help women make informed decisions with their dental health. The end goal is to keep your mouth healthy, while also having a safe pregnancy and safely breastfeeding.
Dental Health Isn’t Important For Pregnant Women
While most people know it’s important to take care of their teeth, many don’t realize truly how important it actually is. This is especially true for pregnant or nursing women, as oral issues can cause problems all throughout your body.
One such issue that is very common is gum disease. Gum disease is a bacterial infection of your gums and surrounding tissues. At first, it causes discomfort and red or bleeding gums. Left untreated though, and it can lead to further problems and even complete tooth loss. Even for non-pregnant women, this is a serious issue.
In pregnant women, it can also lead to premature birth. The bacteria that cause the infection can eventually enter your bloodstream, and from there travel throughout your body down to your uterus and placenta. Once there, it can cause premature birth; there have been studies linking the two together.
That’s just one example, but hopefully expresses the importance of taking care of your mouth. Your oral health is important to your overall body function, and if you ignore it you’re putting yourself and your baby at serious risk of complications.
Dental Procedures and X-rays Are Dangerous
While there may be some that are not recommended during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, the vast majority are safe. As always, let your dentist know your situation, and they’ll take the necessary precautions to protect both of you. They’ll also judge between what is a necessary procedure, and what can wait until after your pregnancy.
That also goes for medications and prescriptions. There are many of these that are perfectly safe to take while pregnant or breastfeeding and can help you fight off infections. Not taking your prescribed medication is in many cases more dangerous as it can allow harmful infections to spread throughout your body. Rest assured, if you’re prescribed medication your dentist has checked that it is safe, and any risks are outweighed by the risk of an unchecked infection in your body.
X-rays are also something that has a lot of myths surrounding it. Many women believe it’s dangerous, especially when pregnant, due to the radiation. While too much radiation is certainly bad, the amount in an X-ray is far below the amount needed to worry about. This is further reduced by taking the proper precautions like wearing a lead apron and only getting X-rays you need. If you still have concerns, talk to your dentist, depending on the reason for the X-ray it may be possible to postpone it until after your pregnancy.
I Don’t Need to Go To The Dentist If I Take Good Care at Home
While at home care is important, it’s not the end-all for good oral health. The fact is that visiting your dentist is important, and is even more so when you are pregnant. A dentist can provide a much deeper cleaning than brushing alone and is going to do a much better job at removing bacteria from your mouth.
It’s also important to go as when you’re pregnant your hormones can actually cause you to be more susceptible to dental issues. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that during your pregnancy your hormones are going crazy. These hormone imbalances then can make it more likely you’ll develop something like gum disease.
Going to the dentist is also an important check to make sure you’re staying on track. While it might seem like you’re taking good care of your teeth, a dentist is going to give you an objective opinion. If you’re doing something wrong, they can let you know what it is and how to correct it.
Having good information is key to maintaining your oral health. What’s even more important though is knowing how to see through a myth and find the real information. There are countless myths out there regarding pregnancy, nursing, and the dentist; so always keep a sharp eye out and question anything that might impact your health. Keeping a healthy mouth is key to a healthy pregnancy and beyond.
|Amanda Tavoularis DDS|