Pregnancy and your teeth
What an exciting time in your life. Also a very busy 9 months as you prepare for the arrival of your little one.
One thing that may slip your mind is your teeth and oral health.
Your dental health can have a significant impact on your overall health. This is true for your whole life but is extra important when you are carrying an unborn baby. Your body is working overtime to provide nutrients to the child and does not have the time or the energy to get sick.
Pre-pregnancy dental checks
We know you can’t always control when you get pregnant. But if you are planning to start a family it is a good idea to get on top of your oral health first. This means establishing a good routine of brushing twice a day, flossing and having a check up at the dentist. This way you can start your pregnancy with your best tooth forward. If you need to have any treatment this can be done before you are pregnant.
Tell your dentist
We need to know if there is a chance you are pregnant. Even if you aren’t sure or haven’t told anyone else. Remember anything you tell your dentist is confidential. The reason they need to know is because some treatments are not advised for pregnant women, including x-rays.
Teeth and gums during pregnancy
During pregnancy some women get swollen or sore gums. These can sometimes bleed due to a build up of plaque on the teeth. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can make your gums more vulnerable to plaque, leading to inflammation and bleeding.
Food cravings and vomiting during pregnancy
During pregnancy many women develop food cravings. This can often be for sweet foods. They can also be at odd times such as the middle of the night. While it is easier said than done, try to stick to the more healthier options. But if this is impossible, rinse your mouth with water after eating and brush you teeth after half an hour. It is important to wait to brush your teeth to avoid simply scrubbing the sugar into your teeth and gums.
Vomiting is another common feature of pregnancy that can have a side effect on your teeth. Vomit contains a lot of stomach acid which is not good for your teeth. The enamel on your teeth can be irreversibly damaged by stomach acids. However, while it many be tempting to brush your teeth straight away it is best to wait at least an hour before doing so. Otherwise you risk further damaging the enamel. Rinse with water to remove the acids. If you need to remove the taste you can rinse with a non-alcoholic mouthwash.
Dental treatments to avoid
As mentioned above, make sure you dentist knows you’re pregnant. You can discuss with your dentist whether any new or replacement fillings should be delayed until after your baby is born.
If you need a dental x-ray, your dentist will usually wait until you’ve had the baby. It is also up to you want you feel comfortable with. As with all our patients, the decision to go ahead, or not, with treatment lies entirely with you.