Pregnancy is a very exciting time. But between all the doctor’s visits, prenatal classes, and morning sickness, you might find that your dental health might end up on the side-lines. However, it’s still important to look after your dental health throughout the pregnancy. This is because some oral health problems, such as gum disease, become more common when there’s a bun in the oven. Read on to find out the special precautions to take during pregnancy.
Gum disease is more common in pregnancy. This is because hormonal changes during pregnancy affect gums and make them more susceptible to plaque. Signs of the disease are gums that are sore, swollen, inflamed or bleeding. See a dentist if you suspect you have these symptoms.
How to prevent gum disease during pregnancy
Prevention is better than cure, as they say. So be proactive and take these steps to prevent gum disease when you’re pregnant.
- The best way to prevent gum disease at any time, whether you’re pregnant or not, is to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. This should consist of brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Also, floss once a day to dislodge food and plaque from between your teeth.
- Don’t eat sugary foods and drinks too often. These include non-diet cola, sweets, cake, and even spoons of sugar in your tea. These foods are bad for your teeth as well as your baby. Try to replace sugary snacks with healthier ones, such as carrots, oat cakes, and celery. Cheese and yogurt in particular are good snacks because a growing foetus needs a lot of calcium.
- If you smoke, then stop immediately. Smoking harms your unborn baby and can also make gum disease worse. Avoid second-hand smoke too wherever possible.
- If you vomit during pregnancy (i.e. morning sickness), then don’t brush your teeth straight away. Vomit is acidic which means it can soften teeth; brushing your teeth after vomiting might therefore damage your teeth. So, wait at least an hour after vomiting before brushing. What you can do straight away is rinse out your mouth with water. This will stop the acidic vomit from eroding your teeth.
- Keep seeing a dentist for your routine check-up.
Dental treatments during pregnancy
Dental treatments are often postponed for pregnant women due to risk of harm to the foetus. This is why dentists tell patients to postpone elective treatments (such as braces and removal of amalgam restorations) until after they’ve given birth.
If you really need treatment, then try to wait until after the first trimester. This is because the first trimester is a critical time for the development of the foetus and all dental treatments should be postponed if possible. After the first trimester, routine dental procedures (such as cleaning and fillings) become safe up until the final few weeks of pregnancy. At that point, it’s best to avoid all dental treatments again until after birth. However, emergency treatment is still recommended at any point during pregnancy to ensure the comfort and safety of the mother.
Finally, after the baby is born, make an appointment with a dentist to make sure there are no problems with the baby’s oral health. We wish you have a happy and healthy pregnancy.