Expecting a baby is a most exciting time! Did you know there are special considerations to be made regarding your oral health during pregnancy and breast-feeding? As dental professionals, we see many conditions affecting the mouth and teeth, with pregnancy near the top of the list in relation to gums. Let’s have a look at some of the ways pregnancy affects oral health and ways you can combat negative oral health implications associated.
- Hormonal changes. You may have heard the term “pregnancy gingivitis” or even been told that you have it! It is extremely common in pregnancy to have inflamed and bleeding gums due to fluctuating hormones related to pregnancy and even while breastfeeding. For this reason, it is very important to maintain, or even improve, your oral health care at home. Regular flossing, proper brushing technique and using a waterpik as well as regular hygiene visits will help to keep the bleeding and inflammation under control.
- Damage to teeth related to acidity. Occasionally, with those who experience moderate to severe morning sickness related to pregnancy, damage to the tooth enamel may occur. This can also be a source of sensitivity. Acidity in the saliva can be neutralized by rinsing frequently with water mixed with a pinch of baking soda. We advise waiting at least 30 minutes after vomiting to brush teeth as the acid present in the mouth will cause the teeth to demineralize and it will take your saliva 30 minutes to remineralize.
- Gag reflex. Some women do report a sensitive gag reflex during pregnancy, which sometimes causes an aversion to brushing. The waterpik may be a more gently way to clean the teeth if your gag reflex is making it hard to get to the very back teeth.
- Uncontrolled gingivitis may cause preterm birth. Studies have shown the bacteria present in patients with gingivitis may cause systemic inflammation resulting in preterm labour and a baby born with a low birth weight. This may be the most important time in your life to achieve and maintain good oral health through your actions at home as well as regular dental hygiene visits and check-ups.
We love giving advice related to oral health care through all stages of life. Many of our team members have experienced some of these challenges related to pregnancy first-hand. Give us a call, we are here to help!