National Children’s Dental Health Month: Pregnancy and Dental Care
"The best available evidence right now shows that periodontal treatment has no effect on birth outcomes, including preterm labor or low birthweight," according to Dr. Lindsey Robinson, a Grass Valley pediatric dentist and the immediate past chair of the California Dental Association Foundation.
Last year, the foundation released a set of guidelines, developed by a panel of experts, for dentists and other professionals who care for pregnant women, or those who may become pregnant. The guidelines stress the safety and importance of dental treatment. Because of elevated hormone levels, pregnant women are very susceptible to periodontal disease, Robinson said. The panel concluded that there is no link between the disease and preterm or low birthweight babies, although others, like the American Academy of Periodontology, disagree.
Nevertheless, the CDA said it is safer for pregnant women to have cleanings, radiographs and local anesthesia than to let teeth problems go unchecked, which can cause more serious problems and infections.
"If an acute problem arises and an infection ensues, there's potential to harming the fetus related to a woman's trying to selfmedicate,& quot; Robinson said, adding that the death a woman's fetus who did just that led to a similar set of guidelines in New York.
The CDA wants all prenatal care providers to become familiar with the guidelines and ensure their patients receive the dental care they need.
Visit First 5 LA's parenting website Ready. Set. Grow! for more information related to Oral Health Month, including prenatal dental care tips and places to go for low-cost or free dental services in Los Angeles County. Early proper oral treatment is just one way Los Angeles County children 0-5 can meet the First 5 LA goals of being born healthy, and staying that way.
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