News for dentistry professionals
07 Jan 2020
Prevention is, as always, the key to averting the onset of periodontal disease during pregnancy. Whether a woman is pregnant or if she soon plans to be, she should see her dentist for a full check-up. During pregnancy, gums are prone to inflammation and, if the mouth is free of dental plaque (biofilm) and tartar (calculus), gums will always be much less inflamed.
For prevention in these cases, good oral hygiene techniques are to be encouraged, using either manual or electric toothbrushes with soft filaments for damage-free care of the oral cavity. Brushing should take about two minutes, at least twice a day. It is recommended the brush is changed every three months or when the filaments open out. Brushing must be accompanied by toothpastes and mouthwashes with antiseptics for daily use such as cetylpyridinium chloride, which have been shown to offer advantages even in preventing adverse pregnancy outcomes in high-risk populations(1).
Last but not least, interdental hygiene must not be neglected, using dental floss or tape, and interproximal brushes, the only instruments able to clean those areas properly. Oral irrigators may also be used for this purpose and may be very useful for pregnant women if they gag when using brushes to clean the back of the oral cavity.
If periodontal disease has already set in, it should be treated at the dental clinic with supragingival tartar removal and subgingival scaling and root planing. These procedures are generally accompanied by mouthwashes and gels that combine chlorhexidine with cetylpyridinium chloride to offer maximum disinfection of the oral environment, improving the results of periodontal treatment. One study that used chlorhexidine as an adjunct to the periodontal treatment of pregnant women showed a significant reduction in preterm birth rates(2).
If the expectant mother suffers nausea and especially vomiting, it is recommended she not brush her teeth straight away and that she use fluoride mouthwashes with hydroxyapatite particles to strengthen the teeth and prevent dental erosion. These also leave a pleasant fresh feeling in the mouth.
It is also important to keep food cravings in check and not eat too many sweets, as simple sugars are the prime cause of tooth decay.
In short, by taking care of her mouth and gums, a pregnant woman is protecting her own health and that of her future baby.
The VITIS® gingival and Perio·Aid® ranges can help prevent periodontal disease in pregnant women.
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