Pregnancy is an exciting time for expecting Mums, and is the first stage in a long and rewarding journey.
Dental hygiene during pregnancy is just as, if not more, important than ever, and your teeth and gums require close attention.
Is it possible to loose teeth as a result of pregnancy?
I’ve heard this many times, but the truth is that this is a myth. Pregnancy does not cause tooth loss – untreated tooth decay and periodontal disease does.
What causes tooth decay?
Tooth decay results from repeated acid attacks on enamel and poor dental hygiene. It all begins with a film of bacteria forming over the teeth – called plaque.
This bacteria transforms the sugars and starch found in common foods into harmful acids, leading to gum irritation, gingivitis, and more seriously gum disease.
Are pregnant women more prone to these dental hygiene problems?
Technically no: gum disease is caused by a build up of plaque. However, some pregnant women will notice increased inflammation during their pregnancy as a result of increased levels of the hormones, estrogen and progesterone. This is commonly referred to as pregnancy gingivitis.
Are there ways of maintaining dental hygiene during pregnancy?
Here are some tips for keeping your mouth clean and healthy before and during pregnancy:
- Visit your dentist for regular maintenance of your gums and teeth
- Brush and floss twice a day
- Limit sweet and/or starchy foods
- See your dentist early if you notice any changes in your dental hygiene
- Manage dry mouth by drinking lots of water
- Increase your calcium intake
Is there anything I can do to prevent morning sickness during pregnancy?
Morning sickness is not a dental hygiene issue, but there are ways of coping with morning sickness that do not risk the health of your mouth.
- Ask your dentist about changing toothpastes if you find that morning sickness is preventing you from effectively brushing your teeth
- Ensure you rinse your mouth out with water after vomiting
Are there any eating/food tips I should be following while pregnant?
- It is common to have cravings for sweet things during pregnancy, however the more often you snack, the higher the chance of developing tooth decay will be.
- Your baby’s teeth buds begin to develop three months into pregnancy. So it is important to eat foods that are high in calcium, which is essential for the baby’s developing teeth and bones. (And it’s not too bad for your own teeth & bones either)
- Eat a well-balanced diet.
Will being pregnant affect my dental treatment?
As a general rule, we avoid taking radio graphs during pregnancy, unless it is absolutely necessary, in which case we will advise you and provide you with all of the information, leaving the decision in your hands. Most routine treatments to maintain dental hygiene include a thorough examination, hygiene visit and simple restorative work, all of which is 100% safe during pregnancy. Major dental work such as root-canal treatment and extractions are assessed case by case.
We want you to enjoy the preciousness of your pregnancy and future child without having to worry about bad dental hygiene. It’s very important to let your dentist know if you’re pregnant, so we can ensure you continuously receive the best dental treatment and maintain a healthy mouth, ready for singing lullabies and kissing your precious baby to sleep.
By Priya Shah, Dentist