Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, and Mother’s Dental Health

With a baby on the way or just born, one of the last things you have time to think about is your teeth. Your body is in the middle of one of the biggest changes it will ever go through, which can be very overwhelming at times. However, if you do not practice good dental health during and after your pregnancy, there could be long-term consequences for you and your baby. With just a few extra steps, you can make sure that dental health is the last of your worries during this important time in your life.

Oral Health Risks

Gingivitis is the most common dental issue for expecting mothers. High levels of the hormone progesterone creates more acid in the mouth during pregnancy, which can lower your body’s tolerance to even a small amount of plaque and calculus. Symptoms include red, swollen gums that bleed during brushing or flossing.

It’s important to see your dentist if you notice any of these symptoms, as untreated gingivitis can become a serious gum disease called periodontitis. Fortunately, gingivitis is a completely curable disease. Usually gingivitis can be resolved by having your teeth professionally cleaned by a dentist or hygienist to remove the calculus build up. With the correct brushing and flossing techniques, you can prevent it from returning. Our dentist and hygienist will educate you on the most effective techniques at your scale & clean and examination appointment.

Tooth decay is another risk during pregnancy, especially if you suffer from morning sickness. Constant acid in your mouth from vomiting can break down tooth enamel. If you throw up often as a result of morning sickness, the level of acid in your mouth increases, as does the risk for tooth decay. Serious tooth decay can lead to cavities or even tooth loss. Our dentist can suggest a high calcium product, or perhaps a high fluoride toothpaste to help to protect your teeth against this acid.

Treatment and Prevention

The best way to prevent issues like these is to step up your daily dental routine and stick with it during and after your pregnancy. Commit to thoroughly brushing your teeth twice per day and flossing once per day. A mouthwash after brushing can also help reduce bacteria.

Ensure to drink plenty of water – try to aim for 2 litres per day. This can help to prevent dry mouth, as low saliva is another cause of dental problems. Try to choose plain water as opposed to drinks higher in acidity like carbonated soft drinks and mineral water, lemon water or fruit juice.

Because the consumption of sugary foods causes the acid to attack teeth for 20 minutes, it is best to avoid constant snacking or drinking of sugar. Instead, it is less detrimental to consume sugars in one go, rather than continuously throughout the day. Undeniably, it is best to limit sugars altogether, or opt for natural sugars in fruit for example, rather than refined sugar.

Routine dental check-ups and cleaning should continue each 6 months, especially through pregnancy. Regular professional cleaning can help to prevent gum disease and regular check-ups can ensure that any small concerns are addressed before turning into bigger problems.

At Smileplus, we are committed to working with all of our new and expecting mums to provide the best dental care possible throughout pregnancy. Contact us to schedule an appointment or new patient consultation so we can set you and your baby up for success.

No matter how crazy things get during your pregnancy or in the months after your baby is born, don’t forget to take time out for yourself and your health. This applies to not just to your oral health, but your overall well-being. Your body and your mind will thank you in the long run, and you’ll be at your best to take care of your new baby.