Although it doesn’t necessarily change or harm the state of your oral health automatically, pregnancy does introduce new hormones into the body that can discourage dental health. Before you know it, your pregnancy health and dental health are going hand in hand. Maintaining your oral health while your body goes through so many changes is very important to keep an eye on for a variety of reasons. A healthy mouth for a healthy mum means a healthy baby too!
Both gum disease and tooth decay become more of a risk to pregnant women, a result of hormones changing the body’s reaction to germs building up on teeth, also known as plaque. If left unattended more severe gum diseases can develop, which has been linked to a higher risk of both premature birth and low birth weight.
How does pregnancy affect the health of your mouth?
There are multiple side effects of pregnancy that directly contribute to poor oral health, to maintain maximum health for mums and bubs it’s important to look out for what symptoms are having a negative impact.
The following are pregnancy symptoms that can cause problems in your teeth and gums:
CravingsWhilst cravings can be funny and unusual, they can also lead to an expanded diet of sugary foods. Increasing consumption of sugary snacks can increase your risk of tooth decay. For more on sugar and oral health: Top Tips for Being Sugar Savvy
VomitingPregnancy can produce some nasty side effects; morning sickness and vomiting are some of them! Strong stomach acid is the enemy here. It comes up in gastric reflux (vomiting) and coats the teeth, damaging tooth enamel and causing tooth decay.
RetchingIn some cases, in a pregnancy brushing your teeth can cause retching and as a result, many pregnant women tend to stop brushing, this puts you at risk of tooth decay.
Increased HormonesPregnant women are more susceptible to gum disease due to pregnancy hormones, diseases such as gingivitis can arise and it’s important to look out for signs and symptoms
Signs of gum disease and tooth decay include:
- Sensitive teeth or gums
- Tooth ache
- Bad breath
- White spots on teeth near gums
- Red, swollen or bleeding gums
- Loose or missing teeth
How can you support good oral health during pregnancy?
• Avoid high intake of sugary cravings, choose low-sugar snacks or fruit as a healthier alternative to sweets.
• Choose water! Drink lots of H2O to continually rinse mouth, gums and to keep a hydrated mouth.
• Use a smaller and softer toothbrush, this will minimise retching and encourage consistent brushing.
• Rinse your mouth with fluoride wash after vomiting instead of brushing, brushing straight after can speed up tooth erosion.
• Increase your calcium intake, to support healthy teeth and bones.
• Go for regular dental check-ups!
By following our preventative tips, mums and bubs can stay safe and healthy! Healthy teeth and gums during pregnancy, means your baby is more likely to have good oral health too.
Be sure to tell your local dentist if you are pregnant and remember dental treatment is safe during a pregnancy.
One more thing - all pregnant Mums and Mums to be can agree they would benefit from one thing - SLEEP!
Click to read our bonus article: 10 Tips for a Better Night's Sleep