Pregnancy And Your Oral Health
Expecting a child should be a joyous occasion but it can present certain dental issues
For many people, having a child is one of the highlights of their life. Despite the trials and tribulations it can bring along the way, few would wish to turn the clocks back to before their child was born.
The experience of pregnancy itself seems to vary from person to person, with some revelling in it whilst others find it a struggle most of the way through.
Issues like morning sickness and constipation are well known, but it is a less well known fact that being pregnant can present a number of challenges to your oral health. Most of these can be reduced with a little information and a little more care. For the benefit of any of our Chelmsford patients who might be expecting, here are a few useful tips from our Blue Sky Dental team.
One of the most common oral health problems that women experience when pregnant is that of gum disease. This is often caused by the change in hormones due to the pregnancy. This is a concern as, if gum disease is allowed to advance, it can lead to eventual tooth loss. There is also a concern that people with gum disease can go on to develop serious health problems such as heart disease. There is also some debate as to whether gum disease can be harmful to the unborn child. Whilst research is still ongoing, results have so far been inconclusive. That said, it is better to be safe than sorry and healthy gums are desirable anyway.
Do make sure to take good care of your gums when you are pregnant, and also when you are not of course. Good brushing, flossing and general awareness will all help. You might also wish to consider additional professional cleans by our Chelmsford dental hygienist to help you keep on top of it during your pregnancy.
Another common issue that many women experience is enamel erosion of the teeth. This is often caused through morning sickness as the highly acidic vomit passes over the teeth, gradually damaging the external enamel. The situation can be worsened by the temptation to brush your teeth immediately afterwards to rid your mouth of the taste. As the stomach acids weaken the enamel, further brushing can add to the erosion. You should wait a while before you brush your teeth and, to freshen the mouth after sickness, rinse well with water instead.
Although it can happen to anyone if they don’t take good care of their teeth, there are certain factors that heighten the risk for pregnant women. The two issues mentioned above both make tooth decay more likely, but it is also a fact that the stress and strains of pregnancy can cause some women to change their diet. However healthily you ate before pregnancy, you might find yourself craving foods that are very high in sugar. Whilst it may not be wise to tell a pregnant woman what not to eat, the fact is that sugar is highly damaging to your teeth and if you can avoid it, it is best to do so. If you really can’t avoid it, make sure to brush your teeth well and ideally, drink water immediately after eating high sugar foods. This will, at least, help to wash some of the sugars from your teeth and gums.
Although there is little or no evidence that dental x-rays harm an unborn child, it is wise to err on the side of caution. If you are pregnant, please let your dentist know. Some treatments may need to be postponed whilst you are pregnant and we can also offer help and advice to keep your teeth and gums in good health during your pregnancy.
We know that some patients of Blue Sky Dental like to keep their teeth looking white and beautiful by taking advantage of ongoing teeth whitening treatments that we offer at our Chelmsford dental surgery. Whilst no evidence has been presented that proves there is any harm caused to the baby through having this treatment, guidance now exists that prevents us from carrying it out during pregnancy. You might be tempted to use a home teeth whitening kit instead but as these contain similar whitening ingredients, we recommend that you don’t. We can still help you keep your teeth looking good, and non-invasive treatments such as a scale and polish will help to remove some surface staining.
Don’t let the joy of having a baby be spoiled by allowing your teeth and gums to suffer. We are here to help you with any dental problems that you might be having during this time. For more information or to arrange an appointment, please call us on 01245 211070.