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Pregnancy and Oral Health

HAVE you heard the old wive’s tale ‘gain a baby, lose a tooth’?

This misconception comes from the idea that when your baby is developing, it will take calcium from your teeth if there is not enough available from your diet.

This is false! So why are you more likely to notice a decline in your oral health while you are pregnant, and what can you do to avoid this from happening to you?

If you are planning to become, or are newly pregnant, it is important to make an appointment with your dentist for a check-up.

This check will help to establish any pre-existing issues that need attention.

Make sure you let your dentist know that you are pregnant, so they can help you with what to expect for your teeth and how to avoid problems before they arise.

The cause of decline in oral health throughout pregnancy can be attributed to several factors. One of these factors being frequent snacking, and often of the sugary variety.

Try to swap out unhealthy snacks for teeth friendly treats such as cheese, nuts and vegetable sticks.

Early in pregnancy you may have a more acidic oral environment, due to morning sickness.

If you have been sick, rinse your mouth straight away with water or a mouth rinse. Wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth, as gastric acid will soften your enamel; immediate brushing can lead to the removal of healthy tooth structure.

Many patients report fatigue while pregnant. Unfortunately, this often results in a reduced oral hygiene routine.

Try to brush your teeth after you eat and not right before bed when you are more likely to cut corners with your cleaning.

A change in hormones during pregnancy can alter the way your gums respond to plaque. This hormonal change leads to the condition known as Pregnancy Gingivitis.

It is thought that 70 per cent of pregnant women will experience this condition. It presents as red, swollen, bleeding gums during pregnancy.

This condition is both easily avoided, and treated, with in-chair cleaning and a more meticulous at-home care. You should be brushing twice daily for two to three minutes, and flossing nightly.

If untreated, pregnancy gingivitis is linked to both low weight babies, and premature births. There is also a higher risk of passing on this bacteria to your baby, and increasing their risk of early childhood decay.

All general dental treatment is safe throughout the entirety of your pregnancy. More invasive treatments, such as extractions, should be planned for the second trimester.

All of the injections and medications can be selected to be completely safe for you and your baby.

Radiographs are kept to a minimum, however with the use of low radiation digital X-rays and lead protection aprons these too are not considered to be of any significant risk.

Be true to your teeth, or they will be false to you.

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