Wellness Tips | 16 April, 2018

Importance of Oral Health Care During Pregnancy

Maintaining excellent oral health is extremely important for you and your baby during pregnancy. With all the changes that come with pregnancy, your body is now producing higher levels of hormones, there are higher levels of blood flowing through your body and higher levels of acid in your mouth.

As with many mum-to-bes, morning sickness is something that is often experienced during pregnancy. Morning sickness increases the acid levels in your mouth and it's extremely important not to brush your teeth straight away; brushing too soon can result in the erosion of tooth enamel, the outer layer of the tooth. Alternatively, consider rinsing your mouth with plain water, or possibly adding a few drops of mouth wash into the water if you prefer. 

With the many changes that your body experiences during this incredible journey it's important to keep an eye out for any dental health issues that may arise.

Dental Health Issues During Pregnancy And What To Look For

Pregnancy Gingivitis: Commonly caused by increased hormone levels or inadequate oral hygiene, pregnancy gingivitis sees the gums (gingiva) bleed easily and become sore, swollen and red. With professional treatment and good oral hygiene care at home, generally, gingivitis is reversible and subsides after birth.

Periodontal Disease: This condition is the continuation of plaque that forms and spreads below the gums. Toxins produced by bacteria in the plaque irritate the gums and promotes a chronic inflammatory response which damages and destroys the tissues and bones that support the teeth. The gum tissue separates from the tooth forming spaces between the teeth and gums, called a pocket, which becomes infected. If you experience this, speak to your dentist about the affect this may have on your pregnancy.

Pregnancy Tumours: The increase in blood flow and hormone levels can cause these tumours to form on the gums. These tumours are normally benign and usually subside by themselves, but in some cases may have to be removed.
 Tooth Decay: With the higher acid levels in your mouth, the enamel on the teeth becomes more susceptible to erosion or breaking down, allowing bacteria to attack the tooth and causing decay.

If you experience any of the following signs contact your dental healthcare professional:

  • Bleeding, swollen red or sore gums
  • Discharge between or around teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Lumps in your mouth
  • Toothache or pain

Did you know?

Your baby's teeth, known as buds, start developing in the first trimester (3 months) of pregnancy.

Oral Health Care While Pregnant

  • Brush your teeth twice a day using a soft toothbrush, keeping your brush at a 45-degree angle and using circular motions. If you are unable to tolerate toothpaste try using a children's toothpaste, they are usually milder in taste. In the instance you find your gag reflex has increased, try using a children's toothbrush with a smaller head
  • Floss daily or if you are unable to tolerate flossing try an interdental cleaner
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Eat a healthy diet, being mindful of highly acidic foods
  • Avoid sugar, soft drink, juices, caffeine and alcohol
  • Maintain your regular dental visits

Visiting the Dentist While Pregnant

While there is a lot happening throughout your pregnancy it is important to keep up to date with your regular 6 monthly dental checkups. When visiting your dentist be sure to inform them that you're pregnant. During your checkup, they will be able to address any concerns you have and provide additional recommendations to help keep your oral health in excellent condition.

Haven't booked your next checkup? Find your nearest Maven Dental Group dental practice and arrange an appointment today. Many of our practices now offer online bookings for your convenience.