Pregnancy and Your Teeth
In the midst of all the things you need to think about, worrying about seeing your dentist may not be very high on the list. But your dental health has a big impact on your overall health, which in turn has a major influence on the health of your baby. That is why it’s important that you maintain a good dental health routine throughout your pregnancy and beyond. Your dentist should be an active part of your healthcare team in the lead-up to, during, and after your pregnancy.
You should also disregard old wives’ tales about calcium leaching from your teeth to the baby, the loss of a tooth for every baby you have, and fluoride treatments being bad for your baby. None of these are true.
Because hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy can exacerbate problems with your teeth and gums, you should maintain regular dental check-ups and cleanings. Your dentist will inform you which medications you can safely take while pregnant and which procedures can be safely done at different stages of pregnancy.
Unusual food cravings are common for many women during pregnancy. If you start craving sweets, try to limit the sugary snacks, choosing healthier options such as fresh fruit with natural or Greek yoghurt.
If you suffer from morning sickness, know that vomit is highly acidic and can cause irreversible damage to your teeth. Although it might be tempting to brush your teeth straight after a bout of morning sickness, it’s best to wait an hour or so as brushing too soon can strip away the enamel – the softened protective coating of your teeth – leaving your teeth more vulnerable to decay and sensitivity. While you’re waiting, rinse your mouth with water or chew sugarless gum to remove the acid.
Maintaining your usual oral health routine is even more important when you’re pregnant since hormonal changes mean you have an increased susceptibility to gum inflammation and infections. Some women develop “pregnancy gingivitis”, when their gums swell and become more sensitive, leading to bleeding during brushing and flossing. Should this happen to you, your dentist will keep a close eye on your gums and help you manage the condition. Generally, this condition will resolve itself after you have your baby.