Expectant Mums And Oral Health

Expectant Mums And Oral Health

Pregnancy is very important time to take extra good care of your oral health. This is because the hormonal changes that occur during this time can make teeth and gums more susceptible to disease. Mothers-to-be need to maintain a good oral health routine as well as continue with regular dental check-ups to ensure their teeth and gums remain healthy throughout their pregnancy.

Expectant mums' oral health

Morning Sickness

Morning sickness is a condition that many women experience at some stage of their pregnancy. Looking after teeth during this challenging stage can help prevent longer term dental issues. The vomiting and reflux that sometimes accompanies morning sickness can expose teeth to acid which can cause dental erosion- the acids soften the surface of the tooth and gradually dissolves the tooth enamel, releasing calcium and phosphorus, the minerals that help make enamel so tough, into the saliva.

The enamel can recover the dissolved minerals from the saliva once the acids in the mouth have been neutralised or rinsed away. It is therefore important not to brush teeth straight after vomiting because this removes the minerals from the tooth surface (and the mouth) entirely. If you have vomited or experienced an episode of reflux, rinse your mouth with water and wait at least an hour before brushing your teeth. If you need a minty fresh taste, you could smear your teeth with a small amount of toothpaste and rinse with water, or rinse with a fluoridated mouth wash.

Food Cravings and Snacking

Sometimes pregnancy brings with it food cravings and the desire to snack more. It is better for your teeth (and overall health) if you can avoid high-sugar snacking and instead choose low-sugar, high calcium foods. Cheese is a particularly good choice- you can read more about the benefits of cheese here {link to blog article about cheese https://corinnadental.com.au/new-research-shows-cheese-may-prevent-cavities/}. Calcium rich foods are also important for the healthy development of your unborn baby’s teeth and bones.

If you must eat sweet treats, make healthy choices such as fresh fruits and yogurts. The best beverage is fluoridated water: water neutralises acids, washes decay-causing sugars away from the teeth and fortifies teeth with fluoride.  as well as assist with the healthy development of baby’s teeth. You can read more about this here ttp://www.ada.org.au/newsroom/article,documentid,20281.aspx .

Gum Disease

During pregnancy your gums can become more sensitive to bacterial irritation and inflammation. This is because increased levels of hormones can exaggerate the manner in which your gums react to the bacterial irritants found in plaque. You can read more about this here.

During pregnancy you are more likely to suffer from gum disease.  Gingivitis is one oral condition you may experience. It usually occurs during the second trimester and signs can include redness, bleeding and swelling of the gums especially when brushing and flossing the teeth. Another, more serious, condition which can present is periodontitis. This is an infection of the deeper gum tissue and can cause permanent damage, possibly even tooth loss. Research has shown a strong association between gum disease in pregnant women and subsequent pre-term (premature) births and low birth-weight. It is essential that gum disease be controlled as the pregnancy progresses to minimise this effect ( http://www.ada.org.au/newsroom/article,documentid,20281.aspx ).

Here at CDG we think it is imperative that expectant mothers practise good oral hygiene throughout their pregnancy. The following principles of oral health should be followed:

  • Brush twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste
  • Floss daily
  • Have regular dental check-ups
  • Follow a healthy diet
  • Drink plenty of tap water
  • Reduce your intake of sugary drinks and food
  • Snack on healthy food

If You Are Expecting, Please Let Us Know

If you are pregnant, or think you may be pregnant, please let your dentist and dental team know. This ensures that we can provide you with the best possible care during this exciting time. Your own oral health potentially has a significant impact on the oral health of your newborn (learn how by clicking here.

Any news or information you share with us will be kept confidential at all times. If you have any oral health concerns during your pregnancy, the friendly team at Corinna Dental are here to help.