Dr. Bryn’s Oral Health Advice for Expectant Mothers
Becoming a mother and parent is an incredibly exciting time in a persons’ life. This momentous occasion brings many challenges while oral health and hygiene may be far from your mind; however, oral health and dental hygiene during this time and beyond is something that should be of major importance and caring for your teeth whilst pregnant is not something you can ignore.
The main thing on your mind is likely to be your child’s health and ensuring that you do everything you can to raise a healthy baby. This is absolutely true and one of the major factors affecting the babies health, is in fact the mothers health. What goes on in the mothers body, directly impacts the babies development, nutrition, and health including their dental health.
Dental Check Up
Once you find out you are pregnant, it would be best to get a dental checkup and professional dental cleaning to assess your teeth and gums and make sure there are no potential problems during your pregnancy. The best thing you can do for your oral health during this time is to reduce the risk of a dental emergency; including toothache, infection, or any other major incidents which will cause extra unneeded stress.
Dental Treatment While Pregnant
It is perfectly safe to get a teeth cleaning and have dental treatment while pregnant and the dental office should not be avoided! With this being said, we do take precautions to avoid unnecessary procedures. Any time that you have a dental emergency come on in and we can sort out the problem, this is the best solution, whether it is removing a tooth, doing a filling or gum infection, treating this emergency will have the best impact on your child’s health. If this is left, there is a much higher chance of distress or spreading infection leading to adverse effects on your child.
Once we have a good idea of what is going on we can then schedule routine and preventative dental work in the second trimester while leaving emergency treatment and procedures for the first and third.
A common worry is getting x-rays. X-rays are often needed, especially in an emergency, and are able to be safely taken in a dental office while you are pregnant for both emergency treatment and for examinations.
Teeth Whitening While Pregnant
As much as we would all love a bright smile, the Australian Dental Association recommends holding off on teeth whitening while you’re still pregnant. Although a normally safe procedure, there isn’t enough information on if the ingredients are dangerous during pregnancy.
How Pregnancy Affects Your Teeth
There are many potential dental complications while you are pregnant. One very common trouble is morning sickness. Vomiting can damage your teeth and lead to dental erosion, dental caries, and inflammation of the oral tissues. This is very difficult to counteract so often the best way to minimise the effects are simple techniques such as rinsing your mouth with water immediately after, using a bicarb rinse and avoiding brushing your teeth for 30 minutes after vomiting.
A large effect on dental health during pregnancy is often a drastic change in diet. There may be cravings and certain foods that do not agree with you or even more snacking or eating at odd times of the day which can lead to caries in your teeth which can progress rapidly.
Gagging While Brushing
During pregnancy, women are more likely to experience gagging while brushing their teeth due to heightened sensitivity in their mouth and throat. You may need to adjust your brushing technique or even switch to a different toothbrush or toothpaste to see if you can help reduce triggering your gag reflex.
The fluctuating hormones and many changes going on in your body can lead to your body reacting differently than normal. One common reaction is pregnancy gingivitis and pregnancy tumour on the gums. The tumour is not cancerous but can be quite alarming in appearance. The gums get very red and have a large swelling. This is a reaction from the gums to plaque that is on the teeth and treatment includes excellent oral hygiene and professional dental cleaning.
Dentist Appointment During Pregnancy
Having a child is such an exciting time, so many ups and downs and a lifetime of memories to be made. Let us at Dentistry on Coolum help you start this journey and make sure your dental health is excellent so you can focus on the important moments of this journey.
Congratulations to all the new and old parents at Dentistry on Coolum, it is always exciting to watch our family grow.
A final message from Dr Bryn – If you are pregnant, you now know that caring for your teeth whilst pregnant offers new challenges, so please contact us to make an appointment so we can do a thorough examination.