Is Your Mouth Healthy Enough For Your Baby?
10 Point Oral Health Pregnancy Assessment
Score 1 point for each answer you say “yes” to:
- Do your gums occasionally “bleed” when your brush, eat or floss?
- Are your teeth more sensitive than before?
- Do you have sore jaws or “TMJ” symptoms?
- Does cold or hot temperatures bother your teeth or gums?
- Do your gums look redder or purple near your teeth (the “gumline”)
- Do you brush less 1 time or less per day?
- Do you floss less than 5 days a week?
- Do you feel teeth shifting or moving?
- Has it been over 6 months since your last dental checkup and cleaning?
- Do you have any teeth with cavities, decay or gum disease that is untreated?
Score of 0-3: Great job! You are more likely to have a healthier mouth during pregnancy
Score of 4-7: You should seek dental care for a checkup if you haven’t, and increase your home care.
Score of 7-10: You are high risk for dental decay and gum disease. Also women who score high on this assessment have a higher risk of pre-term birth due to oral disease.
Oral Care During Pregnancy
Most women are MORE at risk to put of dental care, checkups and home maintenance than you are by receiving care. Essentially you should be more aware of your oral environment and discuss your options with a dentist who understands maternity and your OBGYN or primary care doctor.
It may seem awhile off, but don’t forget to have your child see a dentist for an exam at age 6 months (or when first tooth erupts).
It is safe to be in a dental office, and newer digital x-rays are safe for high risk mothers or for infections or tooth decay. When you have disease in your mouth, it spreads throughout your bloodstream and it is shared with your baby. This can cause pre-term birth or low birthweight. Plus it can delay growth and put the newborn baby at a higher risk for tooth decay at a young age.
See this recent study from the American Congress of OBGYN’s to learn more.
Top 4 Home Hygiene Tips During Pregnancy
- Drink lots of water after meals to wash food from your teeth
- Floss once daily even if you get some bleeding
- Brush twice per day
- Use a Waterpik or AirFloss before bed to clean the hard to reach areas and massage your gums
- Eat xylitol containing gum or candies. It’s a sugar that’s safe for your teeth, and helps prevent decay and sinus infections. (Learn more at pinecrestdds.com/xylitol)