|Recently the staff at Oceans2003 spoke with Edmond dentist Dr. Damon R. Johnson about dental care for pregnant women.
Oceans2003: Good evening, Dr. Johnson. We thank you for pulling away from your busy schedule to talk with us today.
Edmond Dentist, Dr. Damon R. Johnson, DDS: It’s not a problem at all. I’m happy to be here.
Oceans2003: We understand that women have different oral care needs than men. Is that true?
Edmond dentist, Dr. Damon R. Johnson, DDS: For the most part, no. However, there are very special concerns for pregnant women.
Oceans2003: Really? How does being pregnant affect the mouth?
Edmond Dentist Dr. Damon R. Johnson, DDS: Pregnancy is a whole body experience. Specific to the mouth, the hormone changes that naturally accompany gestation can affect teeth and gums very quickly.
Oceans2003: How so?
Edmond Dentist, Dr. Damon R. Johnson: One issue of concern is pregnancy gingivitis. This can result in bleeding gums and pain while brushing and flossing.
Oceans2003: How is that different from regular gingivitis?
Edmond Dentist, Dr. Damon R. Johnson, DDS: The symptoms are the same but pregnancy-related gingivitis is caused by hormones and immune system changes. It usually goes away after the baby is born.
Oceans2003: What happens if it turns into full-fledged gum disease?
Edmond Dentist, Dr. Damon R. Johnson: That’s a great question! Women who experience gum disease are more at-risk for premature births.
Oceans2003: That’s scary…
Edmond Dentist, Dr. Damon R. Johnson, DDS: It is. There is also a condition called “pregnancy granuloma” that women sometimes mistake for gum disease. These painful, bleeding growths are uncomfortable but don’t affect the baby unless they interfere with the mother’s ability to eat a properly nutritious diet.
Oceans2003: Does morning sickness affect the teeth at all?
Edmond Dentist, Dr. Damon R. Johnson, DDS: It can, yes. Vomit contains bile that can erode the backs of the teeth if the morning sickness is severe and lasts more than a few weeks.
Oceans2003: What about dry mouth?
Edmond Dentist, Dr. Damon R. Johnson, DDS: Pregnant women do experience decreased saliva production which can increase their risk of a whole slew of dental issues.
Oceans2003: How can a woman maintain moisture in her mouth?
Edmond Dentist, Dr. Damon R. Johnson, DDS: Sugarless gum helps. As an added benefit, many women report that chewing minty gum actually decreases morning sickness, too!
Oceans2003: Are there any special dental care practices pregnant women should adopt?
Edmond Dentist, Dr. Damon R. Johnson, DDS: It’s really important to follow a normal oral care routine which includes brushing, flossing, and using an antibacterial mouthwash.
Oceans2003: Should an expectant mom tell her dentist or hygienist she’s pregnant?
Edmond Dentist, Dr. Damon R. Johnson, DDS: Absolutely. We need that information in order to make decisions about X-rays, sedatives, and any planned dental treatments that might affect the baby. Unless it’s an emergency, we usually avoid major dental work during pregnancy.
Oceans2003: So that brings up another question…Is there any time during pregnancy that dental visits are safer for the baby?
Edmond Dentist, Dr. Damon R. Johnson, DDS: The second trimester is the most ideal time, if possible. This helps protect the baby during its most vulnerable stages of major development.
Oceans2003: Again, we thank you for visiting with us. Do you have anything else to share with our readers?
Edmond Dentist, Dr. Damon R. Johnson, DDS: I want to reassure anyone, especially pregnant women, that dentists want you to ask questions before, after, and during your appointments. We encourage you to discuss your dental concerns with us and with your OB/GYN to help put you at ease. After all, stress isn’t good for mom or baby!