Mercy OB/GYN Dr. Robert Atlas Discusses Dental Health During Pregnancy On WBAL-TV11's "Woman's Doctor"
Dr. Robert Atlas, OB/GYN, Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Mercy Medical Center
Good oral health is always something to practice, but especially so for pregnant women.
Expectant women often experience bleeding gums because of an increased volume of blood during pregnancy.
"When I floss and brush, which I do every day, there's a little more bleeding of my gums than usual. The dentist at my checkup noticed the same thing," said Emily Fisher, who's expecting a child in the next few months.
"If you are having problems with it, take care of it prior to pregnancy. If you are currently pregnant, make sure you go see your dentist on a regular basis to have them take care of the problem," said Dr. Robert Atlas, OB/GYN, Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Mercy Medical Center.
According to the National Oral Health Policy Center, hormonal changes during pregnancy can increase a woman's susceptibility to oral infections and reduce the body's ability to repair soft tissues in the mouth.
Atlas said, unfortunately, some dentists shy away from treating pregnant women. However, he said there is no reason why they shouldn't treat women and no reason why pregnant women should not visit the dentist.
"Dentists can pull teeth. They can fill cavities. Women can be treated. The only thing we typically don't ask them to use is epinephrine when they're using the lidocaine," Dr. Atlas said.
For Fisher, dental checkups are just as important as the visits she makes to the doctor for her unborn baby.
"It's one of the factors you think about when you are pregnant," she said.
There are several programs for women and children to get dental treatment, such as Maryland's Medicaid dental program called Healthy Smiles.
Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit www.mdmercy.com, MDMercyMedia on Facebook, Twitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.