Dental X-raysIf you are pregnant or have ever been pregnant, you know exactly how much your life can change when you are carrying a child. Although pregnancy is often portrayed as world of joy and amazement, most people don’t realize just how hard it can be as a pregnant woman!

Everything becomes more difficult when you are pregnant. There’s the inevitable weight gain, the stretch marks, the list of foods to avoid and numerous daily activities that become incredibly difficult with a bulging belly in the way. With so many rules and difficulties surrounding the world of pregnancy, we thought it was high time to dismiss the myth that dental X-rays are dangerous for your unborn child.

Dental X-rays: Safe for Pregnant Women

That’s right. A dental X-ray poses very little danger for you and your child. In fact, in most cases when treatment is necessary, your dentist will recommend that you undergo an X-ray.

Low Radiation Emission from Dental X-ray

The big issue with X-rays is the amount of radiation to which you and your baby are exposed. It’s true that extremely high amounts of fetal radiation exposure has been linked to mental retardation and eye abnormalities. Fetal exposure to more than 10 rads (unit of measurement for radiation exposure) has been linked with these abnormalities.

The relieving news is that dental X-rays don’t even come near to 10 rads. A single X-ray, or even a whole group of X-rays, never exceed more than 5 rads. In fact, one X-ray only exposes your baby to .01 millirads!

The truth is, every mother will unknowingly expose her child to a certain amount of radiation. Radiation from the sun and earth expose your baby to 90-100 millirads over the course of your entire pregnancy!

Pregnant Women and Oral Health

Everybody knows that pregnant women are pretty…emotional at times. This is a direct result of the hormone increase that pregnant women undergo. Another consequence of this surge in hormones is swelling in the gums. This swelling means that food is more likely to get caught between teeth and cause infection. Pregnant women are also at a higher risk of gum disease because of the acids the teeth can be exposed to due to morning sickness.

Approximately 40 percent of pregnant women in the U.S. have some form of periodontal disease. Unfortunately, if you think you have gum disease and are pregnant, this is nothing to ignore! Untreated gum disease can cause bacteria to seep into the bloodstream and affect the fetus. Studies have shown that there is an association between untreated gum disease and preterm birth and low birth weight.

A dental X-ray can assure that your dentist will be able to spot and treat gum disease quickly before it affects your baby! As with all medical procedures there are several safety precautions to take when undergoing an X-ray:

  • Always inform your dentist that you are pregnant before undergoing an X-ray
  • Always wear a lead apron and collar to protect your baby from unnecessary radiation
  • Avoid X-rays during the first trimester or 2nd half of the third trimester
  • Wait until after the pregnancy for elective treatments like teeth whitening, etc.

For more information on undergoing a dental X-ray while pregnant, visit us at New Hampshire Family Dentistry or call us today at (603) 625-1877.

photo credit: dvanzuijlekom via photopin cc

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