Dental health during pregnancy

Dental health is the health of your gums and teeth. It’s an important part of your overall health. Some studies show a link between periodontitis (a gum disease) and premature birth and low birthweight. Taking good care of your gums and teeth during pregnancy can help you and your baby be healthy.

How does the pregnancy affect your dental health?

Pregnancy changes in your body can affect your gums and teeth. During pregnancy, you have more blood flowing through your body, more acid in your mouth and rising hormone levels. Hormones are chemicals made by the body.

These changes mean that you’re more likely to have some dental health problems during pregnancy than you did before you got pregnant. These problems include:

Gingivitis: This is when you have red, swollen or sore gums. Your gums may bleed when you brush your teeth. High levels of the hormone progesterone can lead to gingivitis during pregnancy. Without treatment, gingivitis can become a serious gum disease called periodontitis.

Loose teeth. High levels of the hormones progesterone and estrogen during pregnancy can affect the tissues and bones that keep your teeth in place.This can make your teeth loose.

Pregnancy tumors. These tumors are not cancer. They are lumps that form on swollen gums, usually in between teeth. This can cause bleeding. The tumors may be caused by having too much plaque (sticky bacteria that forms on teeth). Pregnancy tumors usually go away on their own. But you may need to have them removed by surgery sometime after you give birth.

Tooth decay. This is when acids in your mouth break down a tooth’s enamel. Because you have more acid in your mouth than usual during pregnancy, you’re more likely to have tooth decay. If you have morning sickness and throw up often, you have even more acid in your mouth.

What are signs and symptoms of dental health problems during pregnancy?
Signs and symptoms include:

Bad Breath
Gums that hurt when they’re touched, or gums that bleed when you brush your teeth
Loose teeth
Mouth sores, lumps or other growths
Red or red-purple gums
Shiny, sore or swollen gums
Toothache or other pain
Call us if you have any of these signs of symptoms.

How are dental health problems diagnosed during pregnancy?

You may notice a problem with your teeth or gums, or it may found one during a regular dental checkup.

Get regular dental checkups before and during pregnancy. If you haven’t been then come for checkup early in pregnancy. At your checkup, please inform that you’re pregnant and about any prescription or over-the-counter medicines you take. Dental checkups during pregnancy are important so that we can find and treat dental problems. Regular teeth cleanings also help prevent tooth decay. If you have any problems, your dentist can recommend treatment during pregnancy or after you give birth.

If you have a dental problem, we may take an X-ray. Dental X-rays use very small amounts of radiation. And we will take xray only if its very much necessary and we will make sure that you are protected with lead apron, this helps to keep your body and your baby safe.

How are dental health problems treated during pregnancy?

The kind of dental treatment you get depends on the problem that you have, and how far long you are in your pregnancy.

You may just need a really good teeth cleaning. Or you may need surgery in your mouth. We can safely treat many problems during pregnancy or may tell you it’s better to wait until after birth for some treatments.

We may avoid treating some problems in the first trimester of pregnancy because this is an important time in your baby’s growth and development. Generally second trimester is best time to do any dental treatment you may require like teeth cleaning, fillings, root canal treatment etc.

How can you help prevent dental health problems?
Here’s how you can help keep your teeth and gums healthy:

Visit your dentist for a regular dental checkup every 6 months, even during pregnancy. Eat healthy foods. They give you and your growing baby important nutrients. Your baby’s teeth start developing between 3 and 6 months of pregnancy. Nutrients, like calcium, protein and vitamins A, C and D, help your baby’s teeth grow healthy.

Eat well:

Your growing baby's calcium demands are high so you should increase your own calcium consumption to compensate. Eat calcium-enriched foods such as dairy or soy alternatives.
Eat a nutritious diet every day including fruits, vegetables, grains, beans and lean meats.
Having too many sweet foods or drinks can lead to tooth decay. Instead of sweets, pick healthy foods like fruits, vegetables and dairy products.

Clean well:

Brush your teeth twice a day for 2 to 3 minutes.
Aim the bristles of the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle, towards the gum line.
Floss your teeth at least once a day.
If morning sickness makes you feel too sick to brush your teeth, rinse your mouth with water. As who experience morning sickness with vomiting and/or acid reflux are at high risk of tooth erosion. to reduce risk of tooth erosion and damage to your teeth after vomiting/reflux you can: .
  • Rinse your mouth immediately with water or home made mouth rinse. (e.g. Add a teaspoon of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to a cup of water to rinse and spit after vomiting)
  • Chew sugar free gum to stimulate saliva to neutralise and wash away acid.
  • Smear a little bit of toothpaste over your teeth with your finger.
  • Wait at least 30 minutes before brushing to avoid damaging softened enamel surface.

Drink well:

Drink lots of water, especially if fluoridated.
Drink non-sweetened dairy milk or calcium-fortified alternatives. Calcium is important for your baby's bones and teeth.
Try not to drink too many sugary drinks.