Pregnancy and Oral Health

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Amanda Orvis RDH

Being pregnant comes with various responsibilities, your oral hygiene being one of them. It is important that you continue to maintain your normal brushing and flossing routine. It is also a great idea to rinse daily with a fluoridated mouth rinse. There are several brands to choose from, just make sure you look for the ADA seal which guarantees safety and effectiveness.

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     For most women your routine dental visits are safe throughout your pregnancy. Make sure when calling to make your dental appointments you let your dental office know what stage of your pregnancy you are in. Let your dentist know if you have had any changes in your medications or if you have received any special instructions from your physician. Depending on your specific situation and your treatment needs, some of your dental appointments and procedures may need to be postponed until after your pregnancy.

Dental X-rays are sometimes necessary if you suffer a dental emergency or need a dental problem diagnosed. It may be wise to contact your physician prior to your dental appointment to get their approval to have x-rays if necessary.

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     During pregnancy some women may develop a temporary condition known as pregnancy gingivitis, which is typically caused by hormonal changes you experience during pregnancy. This is a mild form of periodontal disease that can cause the gums to be red, tender and/or sore. It may be recommended that you be seen for more frequent cleanings to help control the gingivitis. If you notice any changes in your mouth during pregnancy, please contact your dentist.

During your pregnancy you may have the desire to eat more frequently. When you feel the need to snack try to choose foods that are low in sugar and nutritious for you and your baby. Frequent snacking can cause tooth decay.

Feeling nauseous? If you experience morning sickness you can try rinsing with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water. This mixture lowers the acidity in your mouth. The acidity can cause erosion of the enamel. Your gag reflex may be extra sensitive during your pregnancy, so switching to a smaller toothbrush head may be beneficial.

Sources:

http://www.ada.org/sealprogramproducts.aspx

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CDgQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.idph.state.ia.us%2FIDPHChannelsService%2Ffile.ashx%3Ffile%3DA6FAA346-C53D-49A5-AB8D-6198A087A02A&ei=gJO3UsDwH8bbyQG8sYHYAw&usg=AFQjCNFlpM4U5Hwp3J00K0jdNoM5DHzOXw&bvm=bv.58187178,d.aWc

http://www.google.com/imgres?sa=X&hl=en&qscrl=1&rlz=1T4GGNI_enUS478US479&biw=1600&bih=714&tbm=isch&tbnid=nldgrSnzOgvsAM:&imgrefurl=http://www.myhealthyspeak.co.in/index.php/management-of-pregnancy-gingivitis-3&docid=73o889OPRA5FCM&imgurl=http://

www.myhealthyspeak.co.in/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/23.jpg&w=176&h=117&ei=9JO3UvFL6GSyQHXi4DAAg&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:88,s:0,i:375&iact=rc&page=4&tbnh=93&tbnw=137&start=75&ndsp=28&tx=80&ty=49

Oral Bacteria: Sharing or Spreading?

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Becky Larson RDH

            The sharing or spreading of oral bacteria happens very frequently and most people are unaware they are even doing it.  Our mouths are filled with millions of bacteria. When you share food, cups, utensils, toothbrushes, or have contact with someone else’s saliva these bacteria can be transferred from person to person. This can be particularly harmful when sharing with children.

Cavities (caries) are the result of a bacterial infection and young children can “catch” the harmful bacteria that cause cavities. While everybody has bacteria in their mouth, it’s important to try to keep these harmful bacteria from our children’s mouths during their first year or two. Babies are actually born without any harmful bacteria in their mouth.  Once the harmful caries bacteria are introduced, the child may experience tooth decay.

So what does this mean?  It means DON’T SHARE BACTERIA.  I’ve seen many parents (including my own husband) suck their child’s pacifier clean.  This can be both good and bad.  The parent has just introduced new bacteria into their child’s mouth.  Some bacteria are harmless and can actually help prevent allergic reactions.  However, if the parent has any caries bacteria, they have now given those bacteria to their child.  Sharing saliva can also spread the bacteria that cause inflammatory reactions and periodontal disease in adults.

Why does it matter? Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease, five times more common than asthma.  When left untreated, the disease can cause developmental problems.  Tooth decay can lead to mouth pain, which makes it more difficult for a child to eat healthy foods, speak correctly, and even concentrate in school.  Tooth decay can also damage permanent teeth when they erupt.  Periodontal disease cannot currently be cured.  If left untreated, the gums, bone and tissues that support the teeth can be destroyed.  This can result in the loss of teeth.

            Tips on how to prevent bacteria transmission and cavities:

*If your child sleeps with a bottle, fill it with water rather than milk or juice

*Clean baby gums with wet cloth several times per day before baby teeth erupt

*Once your child has erupted teeth, brush them at least twice per day (even if it’s only one tooth!)

*Take your child to the dentist by their 1st birthday or when the first tooth erupts

*Avoid putting anything in your child’s mouth that has been in your mouth

*Avoid kissing your child on the lips

*Avoid sharing food, utensils, cups, and toothbrushes

*Help your child floss their teeth once the teeth are contacting

*Change toothbrushes every 3 months

*Eat a balanced diet, limit sugar intake

*Brush your own teeth twice per day and floss once per day

Sources:

http://www.perio.org/node/224

http://oralhealthmatters.blogspot.com/2013/05/bacteria-in-mouth-are-not-harmless.html

http://brushinguplasalle.com/tag/oral-bacteria/

https://www.deltadental.com/Public/NewsMedia/NewsReleaseBadThingsHappen201108.jsp

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/35989527/ns/health-oral_health/t/moms-kiss-can-spread-cavities-baby/#.UpYHZ9F3uM8

http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/GumDiseases/PeriodontalGumDisease.htm