Pregnancy can be an exciting time, full of new experiences and feelings. With the big day fast approaching, a mothers mind is often thinking about the obvious things – making sure she’s fully prepared for the little one’s arrival. However, it’s important that any mother-to-be takes time to look after her own wellbeing, and that includes her oral health.
Keeping good care of your teeth is important, no matter what’s going on in your life. That includes regular check ups with our dentist, efficient tooth brushing and avoiding tooth-harming habits. However, when you are pregnant, there are extra risks that you need to be aware of – because not taking care of your oral health during pregnancy can negatively affect your unborn babies health.
Pregnancy causes major hormonal changes in your body. Aside from the mood swings, headaches and dreaded morning sickness, these hormones can actually increase the risk of developing gum disease, as well as making your gums sore and prone to bleeding – something called gingivitis.
There have actually been links proven between gum disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes – with an increased risk of pre-eclampsia, premature labour and underweight babies, so it is vital that you get seen regularly by your dentist and report any signs of early gum disease. The main symptom of early gum disease is bleeding, red, swollen or sore gums. Check your mouth regularly and speak to your dentist if you notice any of these signs.
Diet during pregnancy
Another point to be mindful of is that during pregnancy, your diet may change. Cravings, nausea and emotional eating might leave you tempted to consume sugary and acidic foods and drinks, such as chocolate and gherkins.
These sorts of foods can damage your teeth by encouraging plaque – a film of bacteria – to gather on your teeth, eating away at your teeth’s natural barrier. On top of all of that, vomiting regularly from morning sickness can also strip your teeth’s natural enamel, leaving your teeth weak and exposed to more damage. This leaves your teeth open to cavities and staining.
Attend regular dental exams
Luckily, preventing these issues during pregnancy has been made a little bit easier – with all dental appointments becoming free of charge during pregnancy, and 12 months after you give birth. It’s recommended that you attend your dental exams at least twice during your pregnancy, but regular checkups throughout are ideal.
Being pregnant certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t attend your dental appointments as usual and use your favourite oral hygiene products, such as mouthwash, so continue to keep up a good tooth brushing regime to keep your smile in top condition throughout your pregnancy.
Although with cravings and nausea often in tow, it can be challenging, mothers-to-be should also make sure they are eating a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of nutrients and vitamins, including calcium. This will help to keep the teeth strong, prevent gum disease and assist with healing and keeping the immune system intact if any issues start to arise.
At Oradent Dental Care, we can offer expert advice during pregnancy for our patients, or those hoping to become pregnant in the future. Speak to your local Oradent Dental Care practice today to book your check-up, treatment or speak with a dedicated Treatment Coordinator about your oral health.