It is extremely important to keep your teeth and gums as clean and healthy as possible before and during pregnancy.
Poor oral health, especially gum disease during pregnancy, has been linked to low birth weight, preeclampsia, and premature birth in addition to general health problems related to heart disease and respiratory as well as gestational diabetes. We also don’t want pregnant women to have to go through the stress of dental treatment for any issues lurking around, especially if they are already anxious, so proper maintenance is essential to ensure good oral health.
Here are some basic tips for ensuring a healthy mouth before and during pregnancy:
- Regular visits to the dentist and hygiene
- Brushing twice a day, including interdental cleaning, for example dental floss
- Healthy and balanced diet, limiting the frequency of consumption of sweet and sour foods and drinks
Some of the more common oral health problems that arise during pregnancy include:
Hormonal changes and oral health
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can make your gums more susceptible to inflammation, swelling, and bleeding if your gums aren’t free from plaque buildup. This is extremely common and is called pregnancy gingivitis and you shouldn’t be afraid if it happens to you.
For some women, they can develop swelling on the gums, sometimes up to the size of a pea or even a grape, which is again linked to hormonal changes during pregnancy when there is a buildup. of plate. These changes in the mouth can continue during breastfeeding, but usually go away very quickly after pregnancy.
What to do:
Regular cleaning with your toothbrush but also interdental aids like dental floss or interdental brushes can help resolve inflammation.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE
Why the cord blood bank should be part of your birth plan
Should I go for a VBAC or repeat cesarean?
Morning sickness, heartburn and your teeth
Many pregnant women experience morning sickness or gastric reflux (heartburn). In both of these conditions, the contents of the stomach, which are extremely acidic, cover the teeth when you vomit or have reflux. This acid softens tooth enamel and can lead to erosion, making teeth thinner and weaker and therefore more at risk for problems such as fractures or even tooth decay.
Plus, if you grind your teeth at night in the presence of this acid and softened enamel, it can make your teeth even more brittle and at risk of damage.
What to do:
After vomiting or refluxing, rinse your mouth with water or a fluoride-free mouthwash to help remove acid. This can help strengthen the surface of the enamel. Remember to NOT brush your teeth for at least 30 minutes after an “acid attack” as the abrasive nature of the toothbrush on the softened enamel can cause more damage.
If you think you are clenching or grinding your teeth, talk to your dentist who can provide you with personalized protection for your teeth at night.
Food cravings are very common during pregnancy, but you need to be aware of the sugar and acid content as it can be very destructive to the teeth. Many patients munch on a large amount of fresh fruit throughout the day or drink large amounts of hot lemon water. Of course, it is healthy, if it is consumed constantly, the teeth never have a chance to recover and are constantly covered in sugar and citric acid throughout the day. This makes them more vulnerable to problems such as tooth decay or acid erosion.
What to do:
Limit the frequency of sugary and acidic foods throughout the day to give your teeth a break
Use a fluoridated alcohol-free mouthwash to flush sugars and acids from the teeth
Dental treatment and pregnancy
There are times when dental treatment will be needed during pregnancy in an emergency, for example. Although it can be a stressful situation for women, it is safe to undergo most types of dental x-rays and even fillings or tooth extractions if necessary. There are certain precautions we take with regard to the materials we use for example but you shouldn’t worry if something needs to be done.
What to do:
The best way to avoid emergency dental work during pregnancy is to make sure you show up for your regular check-ups and hygiene appointments to help prevent problems.
If you have any concerns about any potential issues, do not delay in getting it checked out as it may get worse.
If you have any concerns regarding your oral health before or during pregnancy, please contact me at Montagu Dental and I would be happy to discuss them with you.
Article by Dr Saul Konviser, Montagu Dental
020 7935 3016 / [email protected]
Instagram: @drsaulkonviser @montagudental
Routine in the womb: how to recognize what is normal for your baby
The modern midwife on pregnancy management and birth preparation