If you’re planning for a baby, here’s what you need to know

Monday, August 8, 2016

You’re probably asking yourself why in the world does my smile (or mouth) have anything to do with my pregnancy and why is my dentist offering advice?

Do you remember the old ditty “my knee bone is connected to my hip bone?”  for some reason it has taken us healthcare providers thousands of years to make a link between oral disease and the rest of the body, including an unborn baby.

There is now a mountain of evidence that links untreated gum disease to pretty much every systemic disease in the body, as well as many of the complications that a baby may experience in-utero and upon birth.  Put simply, the blood that travels through your gums is the same blood that travels through every organ, it takes about one minute for blood to make the round trip through your body.  Now imagine that toxins in your gums from bacterial plaque and gum disease is like pollution in a river, as the water flows past the polluted point it will carry the pollution down stream from then on, the same happens with blood and toxins in the body.  Gum disease is now linked to everything from heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, inflammatory disorders, low birth weight births, still births and the list goes on.  But wait, it is not just gum disease that matters.

My wife and I have spent the last 4 years undergoing IVF in an attempt to get pregnant.  12 cycles of assisted fertility later and we now have two healthy identical twin boys that are now 12 weeks old and affecting my health through lack of sleep!  In addition to this as a practicing dentist, I have had to treat many women that have been pregnant, both naturally and after successful IVF.  What boggles my mind is that throughout the whole IVF journey, never once did we get counselled on the importance of oral health and the effects and risks it poses to both pregnancy as well as the baby once a woman does fall pregnant.  In addition I have had to make hard decisions treating emergency dental treatment on women during their pregnancy, where any risk in my opinion, if avoidable is too high.

Dental treatment is stressful! We often have to administer medications or drugs, such as local anaesthetic and the procedures often take some time.  Pregnancy is not the time to have to have these procedures performed.  Since most problems in the mouth are preventable and in early stages restorable, I suggest, no I URGE anyone thinking about having a baby, to clean house and make sure that their mouth and teeth are as healthy as possible, don’t wait too long and god forbid, please don’t end up wondering if the emergency dental treatment received during a pregnancy was the cause of a complication.

If you are thinking of starting a family, or adding to one you already have, PLEASE ask your dentist to perform a thorough check of your mouth, and if you are lucky enough to live in Canberra and want to come see us at Oasis Dental, then don’t hesitate to contact us for a pre-pregnancy consultation or pop along to a FREE information night.

Posted in: Dental health, General

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