The belief that pregnancy drains calcium from your teeth and that you lose a tooth for every baby is false. However, you may experience some changes in your oral health during pregnancy due to a surge in hormones, which can exaggerate the way gum tissue reacts to plaque. Dental care is crucial at this stage, and if plaque isn’t removed, it can cause gingivitis, we call it Pregnancy gingivitis which can affect the health of your unborn baby.
Gums can often become swollen or tender, and may bleed during brushing. The good news is that they usually return to normal after delivery, and any sensitivity should also diminish.
What is Pregnancy gingivitis?
Pregnancy gingivitis affects most pregnant women to some degree, and generally begins to surface during the second month. It affects between 50% and 70% of women at some time during their pregnancy.
It’s an increased inflammatory response to dental plaque during pregnancy that causes your gums to swell and bleed more easily. Rinsing your mouth with saltwater (5ml salt dissolved in 125ml warm water) may help with the irritation, but it’s important to consult your dentist at the first sign of any symptoms, as gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease when plaque adheres to your teeth and releases bacterial toxins. This creates pockets of destructive infection in your gums and bones and your teeth may loosen due to bone loss. Excessive bacteria can enter your bloodstream through your gums. If this happens, the bacteria can travel to your uterus, triggering the production of chemicals called prostaglandins, which have been linked to premature labour.”
Research has shown an association with [gum disease] and low birth weight. Since the prevalence of gum-related problems is one of the biggest causes of dental issues during pregnancy, together with vomiting and cravings for sugary foods, professional dental treatment should always form part of your pregnancy plan.”
If you experience morning sickness during pregnancy, think twice before reaching for your toothbrush!
When you are sick, you expose your teeth to acid, which can soften your enamel. If you brush straight away, you can risk hurting your enamel further while it is still sensitive. Instead, rinse your mouth with water or an alcohol-free mouthwash, and wait 30 minutes before brushing.
Dental care during pregnancy
1) Before pregnancy
If you’re trying to fall pregnant, schedule a dental appointment before conception. This will ensure that your teeth are professionally cleaned, gum tissue is carefully examined, and any oral health problems can be treated in advance of your pregnancy.
If you are already pregnant, it’s important to advise your dentist accordingly and to never skip your dental check-ups due to pregnancy. You should also inform your dentist about what medication and prenatal vitamins you are taking, as well as any specific medical advice your doctor has given you, as your dentist may need to alter your dental treatment plan based on this information. . Non-emergency procedures can be performed throughout pregnancy, but the best time for any dental treatment is during the second trimester. All dental emergencies that create severe pain can be treated at any stage, but your obstetrician should be consulted if you require anaesthesia and if medication is being prescribed. Delay all elective dental procedures until after the birth.”
“Gastric reflux or vomiting associated with morning sickness can coat your teeth with strong stomach acid and repeated reflux and vomiting can damage tooth enamel and increase the risk of decay.. Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after vomiting as it may scratch the tooth enamel. Rather rinse your mouth thoroughly with water to clear the hydrochloric acid and then use a fluoride mouthwash.
2) During Pregnancy
It is safe and recommended to continue to visit your dentist for a check-up and routine dental work during pregnancy. Always make sure to tell your dentist that you are pregnant. Dr.Miski is a “Gum Specialist” who can examine your gum & oral health during this stage of your life, in order to ensure a smooth and safe pregnancy.
9 Pregnancy Dental Health Tips:
- Brush teeth thoroughly at least twice daily, using a fluoride toothpaste
- Floss teeth every day
- Rinse with water or alcohol-free mouthwash after morning sickness
- Introduce a soft-bristled brush for sensitive teeth
- Schedule a dental check-up and professional clean
- Maintain a balanced and varied diet
- Avoid snacking on food or drinks with a high sugar content
- Take note of food or drinks that trigger sensitivity
- Eat a balanced diet and ensure that you increase your calcium intake. This is imperative to protect your bone mass and teeth, and to meet the nutritional needs of your developing baby. Ensure you get enough vitamin D to aid the absorption of calcium.
Here are the following tips to ensure good dental hygiene when battling nausea:
- If the taste of the toothpaste seems to provoke your gag reflex, switch to another brand. Go back to fluoride toothpaste as soon as you can.
- Rinse your mouth with water or anti-plaque and fluoride mouthwash.
- Try using a brush with a small head. Slow down the brushing action, close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing.
|Three pregnancy dental don’ts|
Don’t use teeth-whitening products, including toothpaste.
Don’t smoke (you shouldn’t be doing this anyway).
Don’t brush directly after being sick.
3) After pregnancy
If you don’t have urgent dental concerns, schedule an appointment for about three months after you’ve given birth. If you didn’t go for a dental visit while you were pregnant, let your dentist know that you’ve just given birth and whether you’re breastfeeding. Continue to eat high-calcium foods or take a calcium supplement (discuss the dose with your obstetrician.