Pregnant women: check up on your teeth!

Side view of a pregnant young woman outdoors on a sunny day - copyspace

Although other aspects of health may seem more important during pregnancy, maintaining dental health is crucial for both the mother and the baby. Infections such as tooth decay and gum disease can have detrimental effects on the babies of pregnant women. Certain oral health diseases such as gingivitis and severe gum disease can become worse during pregnancy due to hormonal changes.According to a national survey conducted by Cigna:

  • 43% of women don't receive dental checkups during pregnancy
  • 76% of these women have oral health issues, such as toothaches or bleeding gums
  • only 55% of pregnant women consider their oral health to be excellent, compared to 63% before pregnancy
  • 36% of women who are expecting claim that their last dental checkup was more than a year ago

Pregnant women, even those with dental benefits, say that cost is the main reason why they choose not to check up on their teeth. Not visiting the dentist can be dangerous during pregnancy, because women may not be conscious of their oral health problems. It is crucial to treat small cavities or developing gum diseases immediately to avoid more complicated and expensive treatments if they are left untreated.

Due to the importance of regular dental checkups, most dental benefit plans include preventative care visits for free or for a low cost. In addition, some of these plans even consist of special programs for pregnant women that provide extra cleanings or oral health prescription discounts.

Cigna's same survey showed:

  • 62% of pregnant women brushed their teeth at least twice daily, compared to 76% for those who participated in a maternity program dental benefit plan
  • 48% of expectant women floss at least once per day, but 81% for those who took advantage of a maternity program dental benefit plan
  • Women who had special maternity dental benefits had better overall oral health habits

The survey also demonstrated that physicians have a great influence on the oral health of pregnant women. Even though 97% of women visited their physician/obstetrician during pregnancy as often as they were instructed, only 44% claim that they discussed oral health during those visits. These discussions are important, because 77% of those who talked about dental health visited their dentists for checkups, while only 41% who didn't received preventative checkups. Physicians also had an impact on the reading materials on importance of oral health (87% compared to 42%).

The influence of physicians on dental health habits continues after delivery. 63% of women who discussed oral health during trips to the doctor received dental checkups since giving birth, while only 43% of all new mothers checked up on their teeth. Moreover, 50% of new mothers brush their baby's gums daily, while 65% take care of their infant's oral health if pediatricians bring up dental health.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. VanDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.



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