So there’s a teeny tiny mini you on the way and you want to make sure you’re doing all the right things to make sure your pearly whites stay pearly during this exciting time (… or someone somewhere has already shared that story about how they lost ALL their teeth when they got pregnant and now you’re getting worried..) Not to worry, we’ve got a few quick pointers to make sure your teeth remain perfect!
Common issues that may affect your dental health during pregnancy include:
1. Gingivitis (gum inflammation) is more likely to occur during the second trimester. Symptoms include gum swelling and bleeding, particularly during brushing and flossing.
2. Gum overgrowth, the fancy term is “pregnancy epulis”, which may or may not resolve after the birth of the baby.
3. Cravings for delicious sugary foods… for breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea, dinner and supper!
4. That extra enthusiastic gag-relfex working overtime which may cause retching while brushing teeth.
5. Mobile teeth, which usually firm up after the birth of the baby.
While the list seems extensive, do not fear, these gum issues are not due to an increase in plaque (your brushing skill have not diminished), the problem actually arises as a result of increased hormone levels.
So, what to do about these problems?
First and foremost – GOOD ORAL HYGIENE HABITS! This means brushing at least twice daily, flossing, following a healthy diet and visiting your dentist… It’s often easier to to have elective procedures done before conception, so if you are planning to become pregnant, put a visit to the dentist on your TO-DO list. If you’re already pregnant, no stress required; routine dental treatment is perfectly safe during pregnancy.
Morning sickness can unfortunately often be an issue during pregnancy. Should you experience morning sickness, don’t brush your teeth immediately after vomiting. The stomach acid can ‘soften’ the enamel, so wait at least an hour after vomiting before brushing your teeth. Instead, rinse your mouth with water, then either follow up with a fluoridated mouthiness or smear some toothpaste over the teeth.
Now if you wake up at 6am craving jam donuts dipped in nutella and coca cola to wash it down, we’re not saying you can’t have it… but sugary snacks may increase the risk of tooth decay. So we suggest rinsing your mouth with water or milk or brushing your teeth more regularly, to remove decay causing sugars from your teeth.
After you ‘pop’, most gum problems caused by pregnancy hormones will resolve. Mums should practise good oral hygiene after their baby is born. Remember to find time (which we understand can be very difficult) to look after teeth and oral health.
Smile widely and skip in the mornings!