Pregnancy and dental health

The focus might be on the baby bump, but as any mum will tell you pregnancy affects almost every area of the human body including the teeth and gums.

In fact, many women are often surprised at the changes which occur in their oral health during and immediately after pregnancy.

So, here’s what you need to know about pregnancy and dental health.

Maintaining oral health

A vigilant dental hygiene routine is critical throughout pregnancy for a host of reasons. As the female body busily goes about catering to a growing baby, side effects like dry mouth or morning sickness have the potential to affect teeth.

Meanwhile, the mouth is the gateway to overall wellbeing and a growing body of evidence suggests oral issues like gum disease are linked to the weight of a baby and the onset of labour.

The upshot is, women need to pay consistent attention to their teeth throughout pregnancy, including brushing twice a day and flossing on a daily basis.

It’s also prudent to schedule a checkup with a dentist prior to becoming pregnant, and continue regular dental appointments throughout pregnancy.

Morning sickness

Between half and two thirds of all pregnant women will suffer morning sickness at some stage of their pregnancy. For some it will last just the first couple of months, while for others it continues on and off throughout the pregnancy.

Women should be mindful of how this may affect their teeth. Vomiting and reflux can expose your teeth to extra acid, which works to erode the surface of teeth.

Rinse your mouth with water immediately after vomiting and then wait about 30 minutes before brushing your teeth to give the enamel time to recover.

Dry mouth

Fluctuating hormone levels may also mean your mouth feels dry, and this also has the potential to affect the long-term health of your teeth. If you suffer from a dry mouth, drink lots of water to stay hydrated and consider chewing sugarless gum to increase saliva production.

Food cravings

For many women food cravings are a very real feature of pregnancy. Try to avoid foods that are high in sugar and skip the sugary drinks. If the sugar proves irresistible, rinse your mouth with water or brush your teeth. And maintain a balanced diet that includes lots of fruit and vegetables, along with calcium.

Gum disease

Over recent years a growing body of evidence has linked gum disease to infant birth weight and the onset of labour, with statistics indicating up to 18 out of every 100 premature births may be triggered by periodontal disease.

This means it’s important to visit your dentist either prior to becoming pregnant or very early in your pregnancy.

Meanwhile, the increased blood flow and hormone changes of pregnancy may see your gums become irritated and inflamed.

Maintain a diligent but gentle brushing routine that encompasses the gum line.

Make your dentist aware

If you are pregnant, tell your dentist. This will help them identify potential issues and may also see them alter treatments in the interest of your health and your baby’s wellbeing.

About Brite Dental

Brite Dental is a community-focused dental practice, committed to ensuring you and your family receive the highest quality of care in a warm and professional environment.

Offering a full range of dental services ranging, from children’s dentistry through to high-end cosmetic dentistry, we are conveniently located in central Panania.

You can learn more about our dental services here, or contact us to book your next appointment.