pregnancy oral health

Keep your teeth healthy during pregnancy

Pregnancy can lead to dental problems in some women, including gum disease and increased risk of tooth decay. During pregnancy, your increased hormones can affect your body’s response to plaque (the layer of germs on your teeth).

Pregnancy does not automatically damage your teeth.  However, the demands of pregnancy can lead to particular dental problems in some women.

With proper hygiene at home and professional help from your dentist, your teeth should remain healthy throughout pregnancy.

Pre-pregnancy dental health

You are less likely to have dental problems during pregnancy if you already have good oral hygiene habits. Suggestions include:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Floss between your teeth.
  • Visit your dentist regularly

If you are planning on getting pregnant, see your dentist. It is more convenient to have elective procedures done before you conceive. If you require dental treatment during pregnancy, non-urgent procedures are often performed after the first trimester.

Causes of dental health problems

Common causes of dental health problems during pregnancy can include:

Gum problems: Gingivitis (gum inflammation). Symptoms include swelling of the gums and bleeding, particularly during brushing and flossing between teeth.  Undiagnosed or untreated periodontal disease during pregnancy may worsen chronic gum infection and can lead to tooth loss.

If you have had gum problems during pregnancy, it is important to get your gums checked by your dentist after you have given birth.

Reflux:  Gastrix reflux or the vomiting associated with morning sickness can coat your teeth with strong stomach acids. The vigorous action of the tooth brush may scratch the tooth enamel.  Rinse your mouth thoroughly with plain tap water, follow up with a fluoridated mouthwash or fluoridated toothpaste.

Cravings for sugary foods: Some women experience unusual food cravings while they are pregnant. A regular desire for sugary snacks may increase your risk of tooth decay.

Gestational Diabetes:  A new study shows that pregnant women with gum problems face increased risk for developing diabetes during pregnancy, which significantly increases their risk for developing type II diabetes later in their life.  The researchers found that women whose gums bled the most on brushing also had the highest levels of sugar in their blood.  This is a clear link between bacterial inflammation and elevated blood sugar.  It shows how a low grade chronic infection can have a significant damaging effect on a mother’s health.

Your oral health is an important part of your overall health, and untreated dental disease can be harmful to you and your baby.

Be sure to include your oral health in your daily self-care routine and keep your dentist informed of any changes in your oral health during pregnancy.

Source: Better Health Channel

Dr Poornima Srinivas

Dr Poornima Srinivas is the owner and principal dentist of Hills Dental Design. Dr Srinivas is dedicated to providing first class dental health care, combined with a firm commitment to personalised care for her patients. Dr Srinivas has had extensive training in both orthopaedics and orthodontics, so is well qualified to chart an appropriate course of treatment for your child's dental issues.