Pregnancy is a busy and exciting time, and expectant mums often find themselves trying to juggle multiple health appointments along with getting everything prepared for their new arrival. Keeping regular dental check-ups may seem like one extra chore that can wait until after the baby comes, but here’s why it’s important not to skip them during pregnancy.
Hormonal changes can worsen oral health issues
Wondering why your gums have started bleeding more frequently? Hormone levels rise during pregnancy, and increased levels of progesterone can increase blood flow to the gums, making them swollen and irritable. Hormonal changes also hinder the body’s ability to deal with bacteria, which can increase the risk of ‘pregnancy gingivitis’ – an inflammation characterised by sore, bleeding gums. Maintaining regular dental check-ups and scheduling a professional cleaning (especially during the second and third trimesters) is the best way to avoid gum disease.
Gum disease may cause preterm birth
If periodontitis is left untreated during pregnancy, it’s not just your health that’s at risk – studies suggest that the condition increases the risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, and preeclampsia. Maintaining an effective oral hygiene routine and keeping regular dental check-ups throughout pregnancy is as important for your baby’s health as it is for your own.
Morning sickness can damage teeth
Dealing with morning sickness is an unfortunate reality for many pregnant women. As well as being generally unpleasant and disruptive, the condition is also bad news for teeth because stomach acid erodes enamel. If you’re suffering from morning sickness, rinse your mouth out with water but avoid brushing your teeth for at least an hour afterwards to minimise the damage to your tooth enamel.
Pregnancy oral health tips
For optimal oral health during pregnancy, we recommend:
- Brushing teeth gently twice a day for at least two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing once.
- Rinsing with a non-alcoholic, fluoridated mouthwash daily (more frequently if you suffer from morning sickness).
- Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, rich in calcium and vitamin C, and limiting the amount of sugar you consume.
- Maintaining regular preventative dental check-ups throughout pregnancy. Make sure you tell your dentist that you are pregnant at the beginning of your appointment.
- Postponing any cosmetic dental procedures until after delivery.
Our professional team of dentists and hygienists at St Peter’s Lodge will be more than happy to provide you with additional tips and information about prenatal and postnatal dental care. Book your next appointment with us today.