8398 2500 Book Appointment

Pregnancy and your oral health

October 16, 2021

Old wives’ tales have linked pregnancy and poor dental health – for example, ‘you lose a tooth for each child’. Calcium for the baby is not ‘borrowed or stolen’ from the mother’s bones and teeth. However, recent research has shown that pregnancy does cause changes in the mouth that may put your oral health at risk.

Pregnant women are more likely to develop gingivitis, (gums bleed while brushing) due to pregnancy hormones affecting the way that gums react to plaque. Gingivitis affects up to 70% of pregnant women. Periodontitis is a more severe form of gum disease and there is loss of tissues and bone that hold the teeth firm. Smokers and people with diabetes are more likely to get periodontitis. It is also affected by pregnancy hormones.

Severe periodontitis may increase the risk of:

● premature (preterm) births and low birth weight

● pre-eclampsia (toxaemia)

● pregnancy diabetes (gestational diabetes)

Your risk of dental decay may increase during pregnancy

● Morning sickness (usually during the second to fourth month) frequently causes nausea and vomiting

● After vomiting: – rinse your mouth immediately with water or mouthrinse – smear a little bit of toothpaste over your teeth with your finger – don’t brush your teeth while the enamel surface is softened by the gastric acids; wait for 30 minutes until the tooth surface recovers

● Frequent snacks and soft drinks/carbonated drinks to alleviate nausea, and cravings for particular foods (often sweet and sticky) can increase your risk for decay

● ‘Spit don’t rinse’ your toothpaste after brushing

● Drink fluoridated tap water – take care of your teeth and prevent dental decay by using fluoridated tap water for drinking and cooking

● Clean teeth with a fluoride toothpaste twice daily

Your Pregnancy Dental Checklist

● Brush AT LEAST twice a day with FLUORIDE toothpaste and a soft brush spit don’t rinse after brushing

● Quit smoking

● Drink tap water

● Have a healthy diet; snack wisely avoid soft drinks and sugary/sticky snacks

● After vomiting rinse your mouth with water immediately but delay brushing for 30 minutes

● See your dentist early in pregnancy to get your teeth and gums checked

● Fluoride supplements are not recommended in pregnancy

● An electric toothbrush may improve plaque removal and help to keep your gums healthy

Information taken from adelaide.edu.au

pregnant woman brushing her teeth