Pregnancy is a valid excuse for a lot of things like bad moods, strange cravings and irrational thought processes, but it definitely isn’t an excuse for neglecting your dental hygiene.
In fact, studies have shown that mothers who presented with high levels of dental bacteria when they were pregnant (and for up to two years after they gave birth) will pass on a greater likelihood of suffering from tooth decay to their child.
Everyone wants their children to have the best start in life, that’s why women abstain from alcohol, take folate supplements and do everything they can to create a healthy environment for their little baby to grow up in. This same level of care should be displayed towards your dental health during pregnancy. The bad dental routine habits you’ve developed over time could affect the health of your child’s teeth.
Create a Plan to Improve Your Dental Health
It’s important that you start making steps towards improving your dental health before you fall pregnant. One of the first things you should do before you start trying to conceive is book an appointment with your dentist.
A dental check-up before you fall pregnant will be a lot easier for you than a check-up during pregnancy. Having x-rays taken during pregnancy is not recommended and all the side effects of being pregnant will make a lengthy dental exam incredibly difficult. Most pregnant women will tell you that lying on their back for an extended period of time is almost impossible. Feelings of nausea and gagging are also an accompaniment to some women’s pregnancies.
A check-up before you fall pregnant also means that the dentist can fix any problems you may have before you pass them on to your baby. Having healthy gums before you fall pregnant will reduce your risk of suffering from bleeding gums and other gum problems that can be triggered by hormonal changes. We can also work to eliminate any bacteria that can be so harmful to a developing baby’s teeth.
Issues that Affect Dental Health During Pregnancy
During your pregnancy, there are a number of factors to keep an eye out for that can affect your overall dental health.
Unless you’ve been pregnant, you can’t understand the power of cravings. We’ve all heard stories about 4am trips to get hamburgers, or multiple visits to the 24/7 convenience store due to cravings for strange combinations of foods.
Unfortunately, if you have a craving for sweet foods and you give in to these cravings regularly, you do risk compromising your dental health, which in turn compromises the dental health of your child. Snacking on sweet foods regularly has devastating effects on teeth and gums, so if you can’t say no, try to keep your sweet indulgences to a once a day treat, followed by brushing your teeth. Or, if you can, try substituting sweet foods with a healthy alternative, like chopped up fruit. Your baby and your teeth will thank you.
Morning sickness is one of the most unpleasant side effects of falling pregnant. But what many people don’t realise is that vomiting brings up stomach acids that can attack teeth and break down enamel. If you do vomit, it’s important you rinse your mouth out immediately, but never brush your teeth straight after vomiting. The toothpaste combined with the stomach acid will have an abrasive effect on your teeth instead of cleaning them.
Bleeding Gums and Gingivitis
Cross-sectional studies have shown that the hormonal changes that pregnancy brings about bleeding gums in 100% of women at the 3-8 months stage of pregnancy. This is caused by the hormonal changes that women experience during pregnancy, which exaggerate the body’s response to plaque, resulting in the inflammation of the gums. In a small percentage of women, the gingivitis can actually become quite severe, causing bleeding when the gums are touched.
As such, it is important to have regular dental check-ups before falling pregnant, so that Dr Anna can monitor the health of your gums and put steps in place to ensure any problems don’t worsen as a result of your pregnancy.
You should also come in for a check-up during the first trimester of your pregnancy to control and eliminate any potential problems that may arise later in your pregnancy. We will not perform any type of periodontal surgery while you are pregnant—this will always be postponed until after childbirth.
While bleeding gums and gingivitis are completely normal side effects of pregnancy, that generally resolve after childbirth, it is still a good idea to make an appointment with Dr Anna, just to confirm that there are no other contributing factors. If you have suffered from gum disease in the past, it is especially important that you make an appointment.
Dr Anna will tailor the consultation around your pregnancy to ensure it isn’t an uncomfortable experience. There is no reason why you can’t enjoy a healthy teeth and gums during your pregnancy.
Calcium, phosphate and fluoride are essential for maintaining healthy teeth and gums during pregnancy. A diet rich in yoghurt, dairy and cheese will go a long way to keeping up your calcium and phosphate levels. There is enough fluoride in tap water and toothpaste to take care of your fluoride requirements. You should always talk to Dr Anna before taking a fluoride supplement.
Reluctance to Keep Up a Dental Routine
If you’ve been kept up all night by a little body inside you that decides to kick, just as your about to nod off, you might not feel like spending ten minutes on keeping your teeth clean. Feelings of nausea and gagging also make brushing teeth difficult. You may need to change your toothpaste until you find one that doesn’t trigger your nausea and try brushing more slowly at the back of your mouth to prevent gagging. If it gets to bed time and you can’t be bothered brushing, just remember that the little baby growing up inside you will thank you for making the effort.
hat doesn’t trigger your nausea and try brushing more slowly at the back of your mouth to prevent gagging. If it gets to bed time and you can’t be bothered brushing, just remember that the little baby growing up inside you will thank you for making the effort.
Contact dhealth Dentistry Melbourne
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