15 May Pregnancy and Oral Health — A Guide
Pregnancy and Oral Health — A Guide
Pregnancy changes many things about your body, and oral health is one of them. In this article, we will take you through common changes in oral health in pregnancy, and how to best care for your mouth while pregnant.
How Does Pregnancy Affect Oral Health?
Women will often experience changes in their oral health during pregnancy. This is due to the changes in hormone levels in the body, and the impacts on the body and mouth. Shifts in acid production, eating habits and hormones can all impact your oral health in pregnancy.
Common Dental issues during pregnancy can include:
- Loose mouth tissue, resulting in loose teeth
- Swollen and bleeding gums (Pregnancy Gingivitis)
- Growth on gums (Pregnancy Granuloma)
- Increased acidity in the mouth
- Frequent snacking, leading to cavities
Read on to find out more about these dental issues during pregnancy and how you can best care for your oral health.
Why Is Oral Health Important During Pregnancy?
Oral health is as important as overall health during pregnancy. It is important to make sure that your teeth and gums are healthy when you are pregnant, as poor oral hygiene can result in other health problems.
Can Pregnancy Affect My Teeth?
Shifts in hormones and lifestyle factors during pregnancy can impact the health of your teeth. High levels of estrogen and progesterone can result in looser tissue and bones that hold your teeth in place.
Additionally, the residual acid from morning sickness can affect teeth health. The extra acidity can increase the risk of tooth erosion. After experiencing morning sickness, it’s important to wait at least 30 minutes before brushing in order to prevent the dissolution of tooth enamel (the protective layer on your teeth). Instead, try rinsing your mouth with water and smear tooth mousse on your teeth to help to neutralise the acids.
About to go on maternity leave, Elsabe, a Dental Hygienist at Brisbane Smiles says that “each different trimester has had different effects on my teeth”.
Can Pregnancy Affect My Gums?
Some women will experience swollen and bleeding gums during pregnancy. The severity of this condition can range from reddening of gums to bleeding when they brush their teeth. This condition is called Pregnancy Gingivitis, which can affect women as early as in their second month of pregnancy. Approximately 60-75% of pregnant women will experience gingivitis.
The best way to fight the condition is to maintain perfect oral hygiene by:
- Brushing your teeth twice every day
- Brush for at least 2 minutes every time
- Floss your teeth twice daily
- Use antimicrobial mouthwash to prevent inflammation – talk to your dentist about the best type of mouthwash for you
This condition occurs due to the rise in estrogen and progesterone which increases blood flow to the gums. If this is left untreated it can lead to infection in the gums and bone loss, which help to keep our teeth supported.
Other Common Dental Issues During Pregnancy
- Pregnancy Granuloma – around 2-10% of pregnant women will experience this condition. Also known as a pregnancy tumour, this condition involves a growth in the gums, which can cause severe discomfort. They are not dangerous in any way.
- Dry mouth – pregnant women often experience dry mouth due to the excessive saliva secretion that is caused when they experience nausea.
- Tooth erosion – due to frequent vomiting and increased acid in the mouth, you may encounter erosion of tooth enamel.
- Developing cavities – an increased frequency of eating, consuming foods high in carbs and sugar, and snacking before falling asleep (when saliva flow is lowest) can increase your risk of developing cavities.
Should I Visit the Dentist During Pregnancy?
You should visit the Dentist during your pregnancy. It is completely safe to do so, and your Dentist and Dental Hygienist will check your gums and teeth and tell you how to best care for them. Moreover, it may be unlikely that you’ll have time to visit the dentist once your baby comes, so it’s best to do so beforehand.
If you have any questions about visiting the dentist while pregnant, please reach out to our friendly Brisbane Smiles team.
Pregnancy Dental Care Tips
Here are our expert tips for pregnancy dental care:
- It’s vital to brush and floss your teeth twice daily (brush for at least 2 minutes each time)
- The best toothpaste in pregnancy is a highly fluoridated toothpaste, like Neutrafluor 5000 or Toothmouse for extra fluoride protection while pregnant
- Rinse your mouth with tap water after meals to help increase saliva flow to wash away acids on your teeth
- Keep your fridge stocked with healthy snack options such as carrots, celery and greek yoghurt rather than always reaching for sugary snacks (we know this is a hard one!)
- Avoid acidic foods and fizzy drinks
- Visit the dentist for a clean and check-up
Remember that if you have a healthy mouth, your child is more likely to be born with a healthy mouth!
Pregnancy and Oral Health FAQs
Is mouthwash safe during pregnancy?
Mouthwash is safe to use during pregnancy and plays an important role in your oral hygiene routine. However, you should stay away from mouthwashes that contain alcohol.
Should you tell your dentist you’re pregnant?
Yes, we recommend that you let your Dentist know that you are pregnant. This is not likely to impact your treatment, however, your Dentist can help to address any pregnancy-related oral health concerns that you have.
When does my child need to visit the dentist?
Usually, children should visit the Dentist once they’re one year old or once their first tooth comes through. Chat to your Dentist about how often you should bring your child back for cleans and check-ups.
Take Care of Your Oral Health During Pregnancy
It’s absolutely essential to take good care of your teeth while pregnant. The risks of cavities, tooth erosion and gingivitis mean that it’s vital to visit your Dentist for a check-up and clean. Visit the friendly Brisbane Smiles team for your pregnancy dental care.