Pregnant women: check up on your teeth!

December 4th, 2015

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.



Vitamin D Levels and Childhood Cavities

May 29th, 2014


The journey to great oral health may begin earlier than you might expect.  In fact, expecting mothers should carefully monitor the nutrients they are eating to ensure that their children will be at low-risk for cavities later on in life.

Dr. Robert J. Schroth and his research team at the University of Manitoba in Canada looked at the relationship between a mother’s vitamin D deficiency and its effects on oral health in their children.  The study tested 207 pregnant women during their second and third trimesters and subsequently looked at cavity prevalence in their children.  Mothers with regular levels of vitamin D during pregnancy were more likely to have children without cavities while mothers with significant vitamin D deficiencies experienced an increased prevalence of cavities in their children.

In order to conceptualize this correlation, researchers looked at the effect vitamin D has in enamel formation in utero.  Interestingly, enamel growth begins as early as during fetal development in the womb.  Without this essential vitamin, enamel cannot properly form and this increases a child’s susceptibility to cavities.  With these findings in mind, the researchers think that the best way to combat poor enamel formation is to both improve maternal nutrition during pregnancy and also take special preventative measures in early childhood to avoid cavities.  This can be done through an improved diet or taking a specific vitamin D supplement.

Nevertheless, there remains a debate within the dental community about vitamin D supplementation.  Dr. Philippe P. Hujoel of the University of Washington School of Dentistry was quoted as an advocate against extra vitamin D supplementation by saying in an e-mail to Reuters Health, “In place of supplementation, I would recommend maintaining proper vitamin D levels during pregnancy the natural way - enjoy the sun, choose foods such as wild salmon, ahi tuna, mushrooms and eggs. Additionally, reducing carbohydrate intake will reduce the body's need for vitamin D," he told Reuters Health in an email.

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 781-237-9071or to set up an appointment and consultation. The little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. Kim or Dr.PradhanDr. 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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I’m pregnant! But what about oral health?

July 24th, 2013

During pregnancy, women tend to look towards an overall healthier way of living. Many primarily seek out medical professionals that can keep them on track with a good diet and care for the coming baby. However, many expecting mothers tend to put oral health on the back burner during pregnancy.


It is highly recommended that good oral health be maintained before, during and after pregnancy. Pregnancy is known to kick start hormonal changes that can increase the risk of gum disease, which can in turn affect the coming baby. Because dental procedures have the potential of influencing the baby’s growth and development, it is recommended that mothers should avoid dental treatments during critical times for the baby, notably the first trimester and second half of the third trimester. But, routine dental care can be done on mothers in their second trimester. This also means that expecting mothers should be extra careful in keeping up with good oral hygiene during these critical stages of pregnancy.


It is important to keep the dentist informed of all the drugs that are taken during pregnancy; this can range from medications and even prenatal vitamins that have been prescribed. Dentists can potential modify the dental treatment plan based off of the drugs that are ingested. There are key drugs, including tetracycline, which can influence the expecting child’s teeth and should be avoided during pregnancy.


With these pointers in mind, it is essential to understand that being pregnant does not mean that it is a ticket out of a dental appointment. In fact, it should be more of a reason to make a visit to the dentist. Regular gum exams are very important during this time, for hormonal changes increase the risk of periodontal disease. It is important to pay close attention to any changes in the gums, whether there are signs of swelling or even bleeding.


The months of pregnancy can be both an exciting and stressful time, but with proper maintenance of both oral and overall systemic health, expecting mothers are then set on a path to a smoother pregnancy.  If you have any more questions, feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group; they will be happy to answer your questionsContact us today at 781-237-9071 or




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