05 Aug Dental Health During Pregnancy
Pregnancy affects your body in lots of ways, but one of the areas of change that is often forgotten is our oral health! 🦷 🤰
Hormone levels change throughout pregnancy. This affects our body’s response to bacteria (plaque) and this can lead to the early signs of gum disease (bleeding and/or swollen gums). To prevent pregnancy gingivitis/gum disease, we encourage brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and cleaning interdentally daily too.
- Interdental brushes such as Tepe
Often during pregnancy, the gag reflex is enhanced and therefore cleaning our teeth becomes difficult, as troublesome as it is we encourage you to persist with your cleaning regime to avoid developing gum disease/pregnancy gingivitis. Breathing deeply through your nose when brushing sometimes helps!
As well as an enhanced gag reflex, some women develop morning sickness. Morning sickness is common during the early stages of pregnancy and often passes by the second trimester, but for some women it lasts for their whole pregnancy. (Our hygienist Sophie has first-hand experience with prolonged morning sickness, so we really do sympathise!) The risk for our teeth from morning sickness is acid erosion. Acids being brought up from the stomach when we are sick attack our teeth and cause them to erode, this can the lead to tooth decay, sensitivity, and ultimately the need for dental treatment. If you have morning sickness, avoid brushing your teeth straight after being sick as this will cause more damage to the teeth, it is important we allow the mouth to neutralize before brushing! We encourage rinsing your mouth out with water and leaving at least half an hour before brushing.
Finally, cravings are extremely common during pregnancy and these cravings can be almost anything from pickles to peanut butter, the risk that comes with these cravings is tooth decay. Being mindful of your diet throughout pregnancy will be healthy for you, your mouth, and your baby. Limit sugary snacks, try safe snack swaps like…
- Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
- Cheese, milk and natural/sugar free yogurt
Aim to limit yourself to three sugar attacks per day (your main meals) and then keep all your food inbetween these safe snacks. If you’re struggling with the swaps and your cravings are sweetness based you should consider introducing a fluoride mouthwash into your daily routine. Use the mouthwash at a different time to brushing, (in-between meal times).