The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that all pregnant women receive counseling and oral healthcare during pregnancy. Studies have shown that "periodontal disease can increase the risk of preterm birth and low birth-weight babies and is an important aspect of overall health for pregnant women, allowing them to enter delivery in optimal health. Additionally, mothers with poor oral health may be at greater risk of infecting their children with the bacteria that causes cavities, increasing their children’s caries (tooth decay) risk at an early age."
New AAPD Oral Health Guidelines for expectant mothers and infants:
- Oral Health Education: Early intervention and counseling during the perinatal period from all health care providers including physicians, dentists, and nurses.
- Caries Removal: Visit your dentist regularly to have your teeth cleaned by a hygienist.
- Oral Hygiene: Brush and floss on a daily basis to reduce bacterial plaque which research has linked to preterm, low birth-weight babies.
- Dietary Education for the Parents: Proper diet, with the reduction of beverages and foods high in sugar & starch.
- Fluoride: Use a fluoridated toothpaste recommended by the ADA and rinsing every night with an alcohol-free, over-the-counter mouth rinse with .05 % sodium fluoride in order to reduce plaque levels.
- Delay of Colonization: Educating parents, especially mothers, not to share utensils, cups or food which can cause the transmission of cavity-causing bacteria to your children.
- Xylitol Gum: Use of xylitol chewing gum (4 pieces per day by the mother) can decrease a child’s caries rate.
Talk to your doctor or dentist about ways you can prevent periodontal disease during pregnancy.