Congratulations, you’re expecting a baby! So, what can you expect in terms of your dental health over the next nine months? Read on to find out!
Did you know that more babies are born in September than any other month? Counting back nine months, that tells us that January is the time of year when more women get pregnant than any other time. So, if you’ve just learned you’re having a baby, you’re definitely not alone!
Pregnancy is an exciting time and you’re probably trying to learn all you can about how to care for your baby once they arrive. But for now, we’re concerned with looking after your own dental health in pregnancy. It’s not the first thing most people think of, but pregnancy brings changes that affect your entire body – including your mouth.
This is unfortunately very common, especially during the first trimester. If you are being sick, try to avoid brushing your teeth for at least 30 minutes after you have vomited as they will be covered in stomach acids and the brushing action may cause damage to the enamel on your teeth. In the meantime, rinsing your mouth with plain water will help remove some of the acids and take away the nasty taste.
Feeling nauseous also tempts many women to skip brushing their teeth, particularly the back ones as it can make them feel sick. To help to reduce this gag reflex, try using a smaller toothbrush, perhaps one suitable for a small child, and brush at a time of day when you feel less nauseous. It doesn’t have to be first thing in the morning, but remember to try to brush twice daily and definitely before you go to bed at night.
Many mums-to-be experience bleeding gums; this is known as pregnancy gingivitis. This is not a cause for alarm, as it’s caused by the hormonal changes in your body. The increase in hormones can inflame your gums if plaque is allowed to accumulate on them, resulting in bleeding. It’s important you continue to brush your teeth and gums thoroughly despite the bleeding. Try using a softer toothbrush and ensure you use a toothpaste that contains fluoride.
Make sure you visit us during your pregnancy to monitor your gums and ensure there are no other issues to be concerned about. After you’ve had your baby and your hormone levels begin to return to normal, your bleeding gums should subside.
One of the hallmarks of pregnancy is the sudden onset of strange cravings – the mythical pickles and ice cream! A majority of expectant mums admit to having cravings at some point during their pregnancy – a few even suffer from pica, or the urge to eat non-edible items such as paint chips or dirt! However, most seem to crave sweet foods.
Obviously, foods with high levels of added sugar are harmful to teeth and may increase your risk of tooth decay, especially if eaten between meals. To reduce this risk, try to limit sweets and keep sweet foods and drinks to meal times only. If you do feel the need to snack between meals, choose healthier options such as cheese cubes, and drink plenty of water!
If you pay attention to these potential pitfalls, your smile should survive your pregnancy unharmed, but do keep us in the loop just to be sure. So, when you learn you’re pregnant and after making your prenatal appointments, be sure to book in with us for a dental check and hygienist visit. And, once your bundle of joy arrives, be sure to bring them in to see us so we can ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’!