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Dental health during pregnancy - baby on board ; extra care needed

At Drummoyne Dental Practice we advise on and help to maintain good dental health for expectant mothers throughout their pregnancy.  Pregnancy is an important and special time.  How you care for your teeth and gums can have an impact on not only your own health but also your baby's health.  Research has shown that pregnancy does cause changes in the mouth which can have a negative effect on your oral health.  

Pregnancy hormones:  the change in blood supply to your gums, with plaque and tartar present, can cause pregnancy gingivitis (swollen and tender red gums that bleed easily).  Untreated gingivitis can cause a chronic gum infection which can lead to tooth loss and may increase your risk of preterm birth.

Morning sickness:  Your stomach contents are quite acidic.  So if you are vomiting regularly this can cause increased acid attack on the enamel of your teeth and a subsequent increased risk of dental decay.

Food cravings:  The acid content in sugary snacks and sweet drinks can increase your risk of tooth decay. If you are craving these types of foods, try choosing a wider variety of snacks with decreased sugar content. Rinse your mouth with water afterwards and remember to brush regularly.

Dental visits and pregnancy  

A dental check-up early in your pregnancy can help to ensure that your dental health is at its best.  A dental visit before you plan to become pregnant is even more ideal, so that any decay or other problems can be treated beforehand, putting the baby at less risk.

It is important to inform your dentist if you are pregnant.  Dental treatment between the third to sixth month (second trimester) is the best time for both you and your baby.

It is important to maintain good oral health during pregnancy to prevent gum disease and decrease decay-causing bacteria in your mouth.  You will be less likely to pass on these bacteria to your child and your child will be less likely to suffer early childhood decay.

Your risk of tooth decay may increase during pregnancy

If you suffer from morning sickness, be sure to rinse your mouth with water immediately after vomiting.  You can also smear some toothpaste over your teeth with your finger.  Avoid brushing your teeth for 30 minutes after vomiting.  Frequent snacking and cravings for particular foods (commonly sweet and sticky foods) can increase your risk of decay.  Ensure that you clean your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste twice daily and use dental floss once a day.

Pregnancy Checklist

  • Brush twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride and a soft bristled toothbrush
  • Spit don't rinse after brushing
  • QUIT smoking
  • Drink tap water
  • Have a healthy diet and choose healthy low sugar snacks
  • Avoid soft drinks and sweet sugary snacks
  • If you suffer morning sickness, rinse mouth with water immediately after vomiting and delay toothbrushing for 30 minutes
  • See your dentist early in pregnancy to get your teeth and gums checked