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Fluoride has been a controversial subject for many. However, the benefits of fluoride are well known as studies have shown fluoridation of community water has reduced tooth decay by at least 25%. Beyond our drinking water fluoride supplements are also available. For pregnant women, it is important to consider what is ingested to keep the baby and the mother healthy during this critical time.

What Is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a natural mineral found throughout the earth’s crust and widely distributed in nature. Some foods and community water supplies contain fluoride.

How Does Fluoride Work To Prevent Tooth Decay?

Fluoride helps prevent cavities in two different ways:

1. Fluoride concentrates in the growing bones and developing teeth of children, helping to harden the enamel on baby and adult teeth before they erupt.

2. Fluoride helps to harden the enamel on adult teeth that have already erupted.

Fluoride works during the natural process of building up (remineralization) and breaking down (demineralization) the enamel of our teeth.

-After eating a meal, your saliva contains acids that cause demineralization (dissolving of the calcium and phosphorous under the tooth’s surface).

-At other times during the day when your saliva is less acidic, replenishing the calcium and phosphorous that keep your teeth hard. This process is caused remineralization. When fluoride is present during remineralization, the minerals deposited are harder than they would otherwise be, helping to strengthen your teeth and prevent breakdown during the next demineralization period.

Is It Safe For Women To Take Fluoride Supplements During Pregnancy?

NO! Currently there is no evidence to show any benefit to the developing baby’s teeth. In fact they can be hazardous to the baby’s developing teeth. Fluoride supplements can cause the the placenta and be ingested by the baby possibly leading to dental fluorosis (is a developmental disturbance of dental enamel caused by excessive exposure to high concentrations of fluoride during tooth development).

Conclusion

While fluoride supplements should be avoided during pregnancy they serve a positive purpose the rest of our lives. Whether it is through drinking community water, brushing our teeth with a fluoride toothpaste, and through fluoride supplements provided by your dentist.

Pregnancy is a time of drastic change and anticipation. With so many changes in your body, it is important to keep your overall health in check. This includes your dental health. Poor dental health can affect you and the child you are carrying. Many parents are unsure of how to proceed with dental care during this exciting time. Below you will find many common questions and the answers to  help you make your best decisions for optimum dental health.

Common Pregnancy Dental Questions

-Is Dental Care Safe During Pregnancy? YES!! There are some limitations but the main thing is to communicate with your dentist that you are pregnant. This allows the dental team to take all precautions for your health as well as your baby’s health. If you are planning to get pregnant, you should visit your dentist for a full checkup to ensure there are no issues and if there are have them taken care of. Dental cleanings should be done throughout any trimester of your pregnancy. This can help prevent pregnancy ginigivitis and periodontitis. Periodontal Disease in pregnancy has been linked to preterm birth and low birth weight. The safest time to receive dental treatment for dental problems during pregnancy is during the second trimester. Cosmetic dental work and other elective dental procedures should not be done during pregnancy.

Marielaina Perrone DDS Pregnancy-Are Dental X-Rays Safe During Pregnancy? It is best to postpone all radiographs until after the birth of your child. That being said, the American College Of Radiology says that “no single diagnostic x-ray has a radiation dose significant enough to cause any adverse effects in a developing embryo or fetus. Treatment of decay, fracture, infection, or pain, should not be avoided.  You can put your baby in harms way if you do not treat a dental infection, do not eat properly due to pain, or do not sleep well due to pain. Treatment of such issues should be completed during the second trimester of the pregnancy if possible.

-What To Do For A Dental Emergency during Pregnancy? If you are experiencing a dental emergency while pregnant you should see your dentist as soon as possible. Never ignore dental pain especially during your pregnancy. The pain will cause increased stress on your baby as well as yourself. It is also important to not allow any kind of infection to spread, this can cause fever, spread bacteria to your child, and cause fetal distress.

If dental treatment is necessary, local anesthetic can be used in monitored amounts, but will still be enough to make you comfortable.  When you are comfortable, the amount of stress on you and the baby is reduced. Also, the more comfortable you are, the easier it is for the anesthesia to work. If antibiotics are necessary to fight dental infection the choices include penicillin, amoxicillin, and clindamycin. These have been classified to be safe for you and your baby while taking care of the infection.

-What If Toothpaste Sickens Your Stomach? Morning sickness is an individualized event. For many it could be the smell of mayonnaise while for others it could be toothpaste. If this occurs, try a few different flavors and brands to find the one that does not trigger your nauseousness. It is important to continue brushing your teeth and maintaing dental hygiene while pregnant. Not only will it hold back any tooth decay but it will also help control pregnancy gingivitis.

-After I Give Birth, Will Dental Work Affect Nursing? Studies have shown about 1% of any medication you are taking is excreted in a woman’s breast milk. This is a small amount but this should be discussed with your dentist or physician to ensure your baby’s safety.

-Can I Whiten My Teeth During Pregnancy? If you are pregnant, it is suggested to refrain from the use of bleaching agents, including whitening toothpastes. Cosmetic dentistry can be resumed after pregnancy.

Pregnancy Dental Questions Conclusion

It is important to remember to keep asking questions during your pregnancy. There are so many new things happening to a pregnant woman’s body, being informed can help make everything go much more smoothly. You need to know the difference between the facts and the myths in case a dental emergency arises. The most  important thing for you is to maintain your health and your child’s health and make informed decisions while dealing with any dental issue.