What to expect when you are expecting
Dental advice for pregnant women
Pregnancy is a special time. Before and during your pregnancy it is important to be as healthy as you can. This includes looking after you teeth and gums.
Some women get swollen sore gums, which may bleed in pregnancy. Bleeding gums are caused by a build-up of plaque (a sticky substance containing bacteria) on the teeth. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can make your gums more reactive to plaque, leading to inflammation and bleeding – called pregnancy gingivitis.
It is important to keep your teeth and gums as clean and healthy as possible. The best way to prevent or deal with gum problems is to practice good oral hygiene at home, have regular dental check-ups and see the hygienist regularly.
At Roseneath Dental Care we recommend that, during your pregnancy, you see your dentist regularly (every 6 months) and have your teeth professionally cleaned every 3-4 months (unless advised different by the dentist).
Although prevention is better than cure, do not be concerned if you experience some discomfort from your teeth, as routine dental treatment is safe during pregnancy.
Certain medications may not be recommended during the first three months of you pregnancy. It is therefore of huge benefit to have your teeth assessed and treated if required, to reduce the risk of taking these medications to a minimum. Prevention is better than cure.
Here are few tips on how you can help look after your teeth and gums:
- Clean your teeth carefully twice a day for two minutes. Ask your dentist or hygienist to show you the correct brushing method to remove all the plaque.
- Floss your teeth at least once a day.
- Use a soft toothbrush which is comfortable to hold and use a fluoride toothpaste.
- Avoid having sugary drinks (such as fizzy drinks or sweet tea) and sugary foods too often. Try to keep them to meal times only.
- If you are hungry between meals, get healthy snacks and avoid sugary or acidic foods.
- Avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol.
- Stop smoking. Smoking will make gum disease worse, not to mention harm your baby.
Pregnant women who experience morning sickness with vomiting and/or acid reflux are at high risk of tooth erosion. If you have morning sickness and you vomit, rinse your mouth afterwards with plain water and/or chew sugar free gum to stimulate saliva to neutralise and wash away acid . This will help prevent the acid in your vomit attacking your teeth. Do not brush your teeth straight away as they will be softened by the acid from the stomach. Wait about one hour before doing so.
By taking care of your oral health while pregnant, you are giving your child a great start in life.
At Roseneath Kids we recommend the first dental check-up for your child by two years of age. We strongly recommend regular check-ups throughout their whole childhood, combined with hygiene sessions in adolescence.