How do dental caries affect pregnancy? | Dental Treatment Guide

Tooth decay is an infection that is caused by bacteria and infants are not born with the bacteria that cause your teeth to decay. Children usually acquire these bacteria from their mother before they reach the age of three. The usual ways of transmitting bacteria are through kissing, sharing utensils, cleaning off a pacifier using your mouth, or when an infant puts their hand inside your mouth. Mothers who have active tooth decay are more likely to transmit bacteria to the child. When the child acquires these bacteria, they become more likely to get tooth decay early in their lives.

If you are pregnant and if you have active tooth decay then you should improve your oral health. This will reduce the risk that your child will get tooth decay. You must reduce the cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth so that you do not transmit it to your child. Here are some of the steps you can take in order to manage your oral health

  • see your dentist and get treatment for your cavities
  • brush your teeth twice a day and floss everyday
  • use products that contain xylitol

The use of xylitol is important because research shows that using products that contain xylitol reduces the bacteria that cause decay in your mouth. You have to use xylitol products everyday for several months in order to see effects. This is one effective way to reduce the risks of tooth decay in your children.

You should visit your dentist if you are planning to get pregnant so that you can receive any necessary treatment prior to pregnancy. A dental visit before you become pregnant will reduce dental emergencies during pregnancies. You will also be able to schedule your dental appointments during your pregnancy.

Several women avoid dentists when they are pregnant because they think that there are some practices done that may harm the foetus. Dental care when you are pregnant is important because this will help keep you and your baby healthy. Women with a healthy mouth during pregnancy will reduce the chances of delivering a premature baby or a low birth weight baby.

Since there will be a lot of hormonal changes during your pregnancy, there will be an increased chance of developing pregnancy gingivitis and periodontal gum disease. During pregnancy, your immune system will work differently. It will respond differently to the bacteria that causes gum disease. Cleaning the surfaces of your teeth will improve your oral health and it will relieve the symptoms of pregnancy gingivitis.

If you are going to have scaling and root planing to treat your periodontal gum disease then you must schedule it during the early parts of the second trimester. While there is no research that shows that dental treatment is hazardous during pregnancy, dentists advise that non-urgent dental care should be scheduled in the second trimester of the pregnancy or during the early part of the third trimester.

The second trimester is considered as the best time for dental treatment. During the first trimester, the organs of the child are still developing. Also, during the fist trimester, the foetus has a greater chance of getting affected by exposures to medications, caffeine, chemicals, alcohol, and tobacco. The third trimester presents other risks that you should be aware of. In the last half of the third trimester, the uterus becomes sensitive. Stress and infections can lead to a premature delivery.

During the second and third trimester of the pregnancy, the growing uterus will put pressure on a large blood vessel. This blood vessel is called the inferior vena cava. Pressure on the blood vessel will cause a decrease in the blood circulation. It is a problem that affects around eight percent of pregnant women. Women who have this condition will experience light-headedness and an increase in their heart rate.

Dentists who treat women with this condition must ensure that she is in a comfortable position during a dental procedure. The length of the treatment should be managed as well. Instead of one long treatment, patients can go through several short treatments.

If dental treatment is really urgent then it should not wait regardless of the trimester. Some examples of dental treatments that should not wait address problems of broken teeth or infections that cause intolerable pain. You should avoid medications during your pregnancy and only take them if you really have to. Dosages must be limited to the smallest amounts when trying to achieve results.

X-rays must be avoided when you are pregnant but if you really need to have an x-ray for an emergency dental treatment then your dentist will do everything that is needed to protect you and your unborn child. You will be covered with a lead apron and only the minimum amount of x-rays will be taken.

If you are pregnant and if you have bleeding gums, gum pain, toothaches, or swollen gums then you must visit your dentist right away. Tell your dentist that you are pregnant and a dental diagnosis will be made afterwards. Anaesthesia and nitrous oxide sedation must be used with caution when you are pregnant.

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