Why it matters to see the dentist when pregnant

Why it matters to see the dentist when pregnant

The demands of pregnancy can put extra strain on your oral health, that’s why visiting the dentist during pregnancy matters for both you and your baby.

The old wives’ tale that a mum can expect to lose a tooth for every baby is simply not true, but carrying a baby does put extra demands on a mother’s oral health. Pregnancy is a special time, find out how it affects your oral health and what to do, so that you can keep your and your baby’s dental health in top condition.

Pregnancy hormones

During pregnancy, changes to your natural hormone levels can affect your gums. Increased hormone levels change the blood supply to your gums which can result in pregnancy gingivitis. Signs of pregnancy gingivitis include swelling of the gums, bad breath and gums bleeding easily during brushing.  After the pregnancy, as the hormone levels return to their original state, the gingivitis should reverse to a healthy state.

Gum Disease

If you think you may have signs of gum disease, it’s important to be proactive about it and notify your dentist of any issues you might be having. Gum disease can also affect your baby’s development as it can be linked to premature birth and low birth weight.

Morning sickness

Morning sickness is a common symptom of many pregnancies, but it can cause serious damage to your teeth. Vomiting and gastric reflux have the negative effect of coating your teeth with stomach acids that damage your tooth enamel. This results in tooth decay and erosion.

Here are a few tips to reduce the chance of tooth damage:

  • Rinse immediately with water to neutralise the acid and avoid brushing immediately after morning sickness as this can cause further wear on the enamel.
  • Chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva, as this will help to neutralise the acid

Food cravings

Pregnancy and food cravings are fairly common and often involve a desire for strange combinations of snacks and cuisines. When these food cravings result in mums eating more sugary food, it can increase the risk of tooth decay. While it can be a challenge, switching to healthier options can do your teeth, and your baby’s health a world of good.

If you’re craving sweetness, fresh fruits are a great substitute or if you do have sugary snacks, make sure to rinse your mouth with water afterwards.

Moreover, during pregnancy you may find you need to increase other types of food to ensure you keep up good levels of vitamins like calcium and vitamin D. Good sources of these include milk, cheeses, natural yoghurt, margarine, fatty fish and eggs.

Visiting your dentist

These tips can help you keep on top of your oral health during pregnancy. It is also important to let your dentist know that you are pregnant. Your dental visit should preferably be between the 3rd – 6th month. Dental examinations and cleanings are safe during pregnancy.

If you have any questions related to dental care during pregnancy, or wish to book an appointment, contact us at Hyde Park Dental Care today.

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