Tag: Pregnancy

Diabetes, Pregnancy & Oral health


The A.K.A Dental surgery clinic is operational in Rooty Hill,NSW for quite some time and now the clinic has established its new branch in Parramatta, Church Street,NSW. Talking to Dr. Rashmi Suryawanshi, Dental Surgeon, B.D.S(A.D.C) who is being into practice for 16yrs now, says “when it comes to preventing and managing diabetes or pregnancy, the last thing that probably comes to mind is your teeth and gums… but your oral health is actually an incredibly important element on your body’s ability to stay well.”

Some of the interesting aspects she shared with regards to diabetes, pregnancy and oral health is as follows-

Why do people with diabetes have a greater risk of oral health problems?

People with diabetes who have irregular blood glucose levels have a higher risk of tooth problems and gum disease than people without diabetes. This is because they have lower resistance to infection and may not heal as easily.

Poor blood glucose control leads to bacteria growth and increases the risk of infections. Dry mouth can also occur when blood glucose levels are high. Some medications for diabetes, may cause dry mouth and taste disturbance.

Also, diabetic people who smoke or even general smokers are at higher risk of gum disease and may also contribute to having a dry mouth. Hypo treatments such as sweetened fizzy drinks and lollies can lead to tooth decay.

What are the symptoms to watch for?

Bleeding from gums or gums that are loose and pull away from the teeth, a persistent discharge (pus) coming from the gums are all the signs indicating to see your dentist immediately. Sometimes with advancement of the disease, there will be no bleeding, which in normal circumstances many people tend to ignore and not pay a visit to their dentist.

Why is the management of oral health especially important for people with diabetes?

Taking care of your teeth and mouth is especially important if you have diabetes, because the condition results in a greater risk of oral infection and often slows the healing process because of minimum blood supply in that region. Seeing a dentist is a slightly different experience for diabetics and it’s important to learn as much as you can, about handling your diabetes and dental treatment and work with your dentist to avoid  any complications and maintain your oral health. Tooth- and gum-related problems aren’t the only oral health issues that you might face if you don’t treat your diabetes or see a dentist regularly.

Plus, along with getting your diabetes under control, caring for your teeth at home is an important part of your dental treatment. There is myth among people to brush the teeth, but actually we are supposed to massage the gums in circular way and use soft brush to clean the mouth and floss daily.

Tips to maintain good oral hygiene?

  • Massage your gums with your finger in circular way before brushing.
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft tooth brush and toothpaste.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three months.
  • Floss daily.
  • Get a dental check-up and teeth cleaning at least twice a year.
  • Avoid smoking and other forms of tobacco.
  • Avoid candy and other sugary foods.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet.

What precautions a diabetic patient need to take before any dental treatment?

Handling your diabetes and dental treatment means being open with your dentist about your condition. Before undergoing surgery or another treatment that is expected to cause bleeding, one needs to get their blood sugars under control. Also before visiting your dentist it’s better to have food before. And it’s a must to visit the dentist every six months.

Is there any oral health care cover provided by the Government of Australia for diabetes patient?

There was a cover for diabetes patient, but not anymore. But there is only Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) which gives eligible children and teenagers access to up to $1,000 in benefits for dental services over two calendar years.

How important is it for pregnant women to maintain oral hygiene and why?

Pregnancy is a very exciting and a beautiful phrase in any woman’s life. There are so many changes a body undergoes and your mouth is no exception. The increase of hormone levels can leave your mouth more vulnerable to dental problems from bacteria and plaque and that’s why maintaining good oral hygiene is important not only for the mother but also for the fetus. The serious stage of gum disease, periodontitis, could cause premature birth and low birth weight.

There are also possibilities of future health problems and disabilities for unborn babies. Cerebral palsy and mental retardation are some of the likely health problems. It is not uncommon for expecting mothers to have gum infection. Nearly 50 percent of pregnant women experience pregnancy gingivitis, which usually occurs during the first trimester due to hormonal changes in the body. Symptoms of pregnancy gingivitis are usually bleeding, swollen, red and tender gums.

The best way to avoid these complications is for women to go visit their dentist at the beginning of their pregnancy. Another way to stay healthy is by practicing good oral hygiene.

Morning Sickness and its effect?

Another concern for some expectant mothers who may suffer from regular morning sickness or gastric reflux is the erosion of tooth enamel. The increased amount of acid in the mouth can cause havoc on your teeth. To help counter this, you can neutralize the acid present in your mouth by rinsing with a teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in water. Do this before brushing your teeth to minimize erosion.

What about other regular dental work during pregnancy?

Dental work while pregnant, such as cavity fillings and crowns, should be treated to reduce the chance of infection. If dental work is done during pregnancy, the second trimester is ideal. Once you reach the third trimester, it may be very difficult to lie on your back for an extended period of time.

The safest course of action is to postpone all unnecessary dental work until after the birth.

What about x-rays used in dental work during pregnancy?

Routine x-rays, typically taken during annual exams, can usually be postponed until after the birth. X-rays are necessary to perform many dental procedures, especially emergencies. According to the Australian Dental Association (ADA) having dental X-rays during your pregnancy is considered safe with appropriate shielding.