Planning to Fall Pregnant? Don’t Forget About Oral Health!
Your teeth and gums need special attention during pregnancy. Maintain good oral hygiene through regular brushing and flossing, and by limiting sugary and acidic foods and drinks.
Oral health during pregnancy
If you’re planning on falling pregnant then it’s a good idea to visit your oral health professional for a review so that any existing oral health problems can be addressed. Once you fall pregnant certain dental procedures, such as x-rays, and extensive non-urgent treatment would need to be delayed.
If you’re already pregnant, it is recommended that you book in to see your oral health professional between the fourth and sixth months of your pregnancy. Hormones produced by your body during pregnancy can actually increase the occurrence and severity of gum disease, so it’s important to visit your oral health professional to keep on top of any developing issues. When you make your appointment, make sure you let them know that you’re pregnant so they can treat you accordingly.
Dental health risk factors during pregnancy
The hormonal changes in your body during pregnancy can increase the likelihood of gum disease, leading to swelling and bleeding of the gums, particularly noticeable during brushing and flossing.
Nausea, reflux and vomiting during pregnancy may also damage tooth enamel, increasing the risk of erosion and tooth sensitivity, due to the strong stomach acids washing over the teeth. It is recommended that you avoid brushing immediately after vomiting, as this can increase wear on already compromised tooth enamel. It is more beneficial to rinse your mouth thoroughly with plain tap water and then use a fluoridated mouthwash. Wait at least 30 minutes after vomiting before brushing your teeth.
Know the risks
Maintaining optimal oral health during pregnancy is about more than keeping your teeth sparkly and white. Research shows that there may be links between gum disease during pregnancy and low birth weight pre-term babies. Regular visits with your oral health professional throughout your pregnancy journey is vital.
Bacteria from your mouth is passed on to your baby after they are born by sharing food or drink or transferred on dummies or cutlery. Maintaining good oral health during your pregnancy will reduce the risk of passing on the harmful bacteria once your baby arrives.
Maintaining healthy oral hygiene habits is critical during pregnancy. Regular brushing and flossing, eating a diet low in sugary and acidic foods and drinks as well as regular reviews with your oral health professional will reduce most of the dental problems that can accompany pregnancy.
As featured in Pregnancy Life & Style Magazine – 31 August 2017