Certain groups of women are more likely to visit the dentist during pregnancy, according to an article in the December issue of the Journal of Periodontology.
The study, which was carried out by researchers at the University of Alberta, Canada, included mothers who were visiting a health centre to have their children vaccinated. Mothers answered questions about:
- oral health;
- their oral hygiene practices; and,
- any dental visits during pregnancy.
In all, 423 mothers completed the study. Their average age at delivery was 29.5. Almost all of the mothers brushed their teeth at least once every day. About 19% said they had problems brushing during pregnancy. About 25% had dental problems during pregnancy. Half of the women visited a dentist during pregnancy. Most visits were for regular check-ups or preventive care. About 29% received dental or periodontal (gum) treatment. Women who were more likely to visit during pregnancy:
- had more education;
- were covered by dental insurance;
- had higher family incomes;
- had more knowledge of possible connections between oral health and a healthy pregnancy; and,
- visited the dentist regularly before becoming pregnant.
Doctors recommend regular check-ups and cleanings during pregnancy and suggest that, if possible, non-emergency dental work should be scheduled for the second trimester. By the third trimester, a pregnant woman may not be comfortable in the treatment chair.