Pregnancy is a time when a lot of extra stress is placed on your body. Your oral health can suffer as a result.
The hormones produced during pregnancy can affect the way you naturally deal with dental plaque, this can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. There are more oral bacteria present during pregnancy and therefore more plaque acid is produced. The immune system appears to react differently to plaque acid during pregnancy.
If you already have undiagnosed periodontitis, pregnancy may exacerbate the problem. Gum disease such as gingivitis has been linked with pre-term births and is associated with low birth-weights.
Common dental problems associated with pregnancy are:
- Bleeding gums
- Swollen gums
- A swollen lump or pregnancy epulis
- Tooth erosion from morning sickness or retching
- Dental caries as a result of more oral bacteria producing plaque acid
It is vitally important to maintain good oral health throughout your pregnancy by regular brushing, flossing and visits to the dentist. You need to inform your dentist if you are pregnant as some procedures may be delayed until you deliver, e.g., those requiring X-rays and local anaesthetic. If you are considering conceiving, discuss this with your dentist so that you may undergo any necessary dental work pre-pregnancy.
Tips for dental health during pregnancy:
- Brush at least twice a day, floss once a day.
- Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables to strengthen your immune system
- Reduce your intake of sugar-laden foods and beverages.
- Drink 8 glasses of water each day
- Consume 2-3 servings of dairy each day for Calcium. Your baby’s bones and teeth will start to form during the second trimester and will take calcium from your bones, not your teeth, as previously thought. It is still important for you to bolster your supply with calcium rich foods.
- Take a prenatal supplement with added Vitamin D for calcium absorption. Your baby will get their vitamin D supply from you. If you are deficient, your baby will be too.
- Eat 1 serving of oily fish per week as the Omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory.