Pregnant? Go to the Dentist

It's a surprising fact (to me) that pregnant women don't go to the dentist.  Probably because we get tired of going to the doctor every month and then every week in our last trimester.  But it's important, and here's why.

Regular trips to the dentist can prevent gum disease and inflammation, which up to 70% of women experience during pregnancy. So big deal, you say?  Actually it is. Gum disease leads to infection and infection can spread from your gums to the rest of your body.

According to Catherine Saint Louis, not going to a dentist when suffering active tooth decay can pass bacteria from a woman's saliva to her fetus, endangering the baby's oral health as well as risking other more serious forms of infection.

Fear is behind a lot of this.  Not from pregnant women.  But dentists.

“A lot of dentists still fear treating pregnant women, and think, ‘What happens if I have to do an X-ray?’ or ‘What happens if I give antibiotics or local anesthesia?’” Dr. Howard Minkoff, the chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, told Saint Louis. “None of these are legitimate reasons not to provide appropriate care for women.”

Pregnant women with severe dental pain they can't get treatment for have also been known to over-self-medicate, Saint Louis reported, and the results can be deadly.  She noted a woman with abscessed teeth, who took such an excessive amount of Tylenol in an effort to blunt the pain that she went into liver failure and sadly, her fetus died.

Dentists are now being advised to provide dental care in any trimester of a pregnancy.  The only hurdle left is getting women who are feeling over-doctored to go to yet another!


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