Pregnancy is a special time. Have you heard the old wives’ tale that you lose a tooth for each child? This is absolutely untrue. Calcium is not depleted from the mother’s bones and teeth by the baby.
However there are several dental issues to consider during pregnancy including the following…
Pregnancy hormones do change the blood supply to the gums so you may find that your gums bleed more often while brushing, and may be tender. This is due to pregnancy hormones affecting the way that gums react to plaque. Brushing and flossing twice daily will help avoid pregnancy gingivitis (gums which bleed while brushing). Gingivitis affects up to 70% of pregnant women. Make sure that you don’t avoid massaging the gums with your toothbrush, even if there is some bleeding. Make sure you have a soft toothbrush so you don’t do any damage to your enamel and gums.
Keep brushing and it will get better!
Morning sickness and some food cravings can cause an increased risk of dental decay and increased acid attack. Morning sickness (usually during the second to fourth month) frequently causes nausea and vomiting. After vomiting, rinse your mouth immediately with water or mouth rinse.
If you do vomit, delay brushing your teeth for 30 minutes as the enamel surface is softened the gastric acids.
The tooth surface will recover after this time and it will be safe to brush. Try smearing a bit of toothpaste or tooth mousse over your teeth as this will also help. “Spit don’t rinse” after brushing is also helpful.
Be aware that if you are snacking frequently or have sweet cravings to satisfy, this will increase your tooth decay risk, whether you are pregnant or not!
Quit smoking. Smoking affects your whole body including your mouth and your baby’s health will suffer too.
Extra fluoride supplements are not necessary for the mother to take during pregnancy as fluoride does not cross the placenta.
It’s a good idea to have dental checkup early in your pregnancy, while any major treatment is best planned for the 2nd trimester (third to sixth month). Minor dental treatment (fillings, cleans etc) can be done at any time. If you can sort out any decay in your own mouth early then you are less likely to pass on decay-causing bacteria to your baby. Remember babies are born without any decay-causing bacteria in their mouths. They are infected by other adults, and children who share the baby’s drink bottles, cutlery, food, and by kissing on the lips.
Food for thought…