Pregnancy & Your Dental Health

added on: August 7, 2018

Did you know that during pregnancy more frequent dental visits are crucial for not only your health but also for the health of your baby? During pregnancy, a woman’s chances of contracting gingivitis, also known as periodontal gum disease, are increased significantly. Gingivitis, or an inflammation of the gum tissue, occurs when plaque builds up between the teeth and the gums. Pregnancy gingivitis presents specifically when an expecting mother’s gums become swollen, inflamed, tender, and in some cases begin to bleed. Without treatment, pregnancy gingivitis can easily become active periodontal disease, which can affect the health of the unborn child. Unfortunately, between all of the prepping for the baby’s arrival and other doctor’s visits, new mothers often let their dental health slip. Pregnancy is a busy season for an expecting mother. However, moms should seek to prioritize their regular dental care during pregnancy to protect their health and the health of their child.

The misconception that dental care is not recommended during pregnancy is not only false, but dangerous for both the health of mom and baby. If expecting mothers allow active infection to grow in the mouth, those same diseases can be passed through her body and potentially to the baby. This information may come across as initially frightening; but with the help of Drs. Stanley, expecting mothers can rest easy knowing their dental health is a top priority. Stanley Dentistry can address your concerns, and set moms and children onto a healthy path.

“To combat your chances of contracting pregnancy gingivitis, you should call your dentist when you find out you are expecting. We recommend setting up one dental checkup per trimester to ensure that everything is normal and healthy,” says Dr. Bobbi Stanley. “Please also make sure you are brushing your teeth twice daily, and flossing at least once a day. Although this is always the standard of care that we recommend our patients to use at home, now more than ever, it needs to be done.” Dr. Stanley, a mother of four children, knows just how important regular dental check-ups are all the time, but especially during pregnancy. “As an expecting mom, you want to do everything in your power to protect your baby. Your dentist can partner with you in making sure your smile is healthy for the safety of you and your baby.”

If moms do begin to notice that their gums seem different than normal, set up an examination with the dentist as soon as possible to stop the spread of any potential periodontal disease. If moms are diagnosed with pregnancy gingivitis, Stanley Dentistry can help. The doctors may recommend “a deep cleaning,” or a dental procedure called scaling and root planing. During the procedure appointment, the hygienist will perform an extensive deep cleaning of the patient’s mouth to combat the spread of periodontal disease.

After this procedure, all patients are given a medicated rinse called Chlorhexidine Gluconate mouthwash. This prescription mouthwash ensures that the mouth will continue to actively fight the infection and allows the patient to continue to combat any spread of disease while they are at home. Expectant mothers are often wary of using prescriptions while pregnant; they do not want to endanger their child by introducing new medications. However, there are no studies performed on humans that show any dangerous links between pregnant or nursing mothers and Chlorhexidine rinse.

“Chlorhexidine is completely safe for the mother and the unborn child,” says Dr. Robert Stanley. “We have seen studies about Chlorhexidine and the unborn performed on rats, however, the study reported no effects on the nursing rats.” Dr. Stanley relies on latest research and continuing education to stay abreast of any changes in his field. Drs. Robert and Bobbi Stanley attend about 10 times the required amount of continuing dental education required by the North Carolina state dental board each year.

“Chlorhexidine rinse is meant to be used as a mouthwash by the moth er to combat disease in the mouth,” Dr. Stanley states. His research on the subject has revealed important, new information for nursing mothers. “Recently, a report was published stating a nursing mother applied Chlorhexidine to her nipples, causing her baby’s heart rate to slow dangerously while nursing.  Do not apply Chlorhexidine topically to the skin. We do not, under any circumstances, recommend this rinse to be rubbed on the nipples, especially when breastfeeding. As long as the rinse is used as prescribed, no harm will come to the mother or the unborn or nursing child.”

Recently, Stanley Dentistry longtime hygienist, Jennifer, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. While pregnant, she felt compelled to share her knowledge with other pregnant mothers to help educate them, combat misconceptions, and put their worries at ease. Below is the link to a video with important information for pregnant and nursing mothers regarding pregnancy gingivitis and periodontal disease. Pregnancy is an exciting time for new moms but can also be a scary time in a woman’s life. Stanley Dentistry is equipped to help both nursing and pregnant moms navigate their oral health before, during, and after the birth of their new child. Call the office today to schedule your next hygiene appointment, or to learn more about pregnancy gingivitis.