Pregnancy is a special time.

How you look after your teeth and gums now can affect your baby's health as well as your own.

Old wives' tales have linked pregnancy and poor dental heath — for example, ʻyou lose a tooth for each child'. Calcium for the baby is not ʻborrowed or stolenʼ 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.


 

Pregnancy hormones

change the blood supply to your gums, and when plaque is present can cause pregnancy gingivitis swollen red gums that bleed easily when brushing and may be tender

Morning sickness and some food cravings may cause:

Dental visits and pregnancy

A dental check—up early in your pregnancy will help you to make sure that your oral health is at its best. A dental visit before you plan to become pregnant is even better, so that any decay or other problems can be treated beforehand.

Be sure to tell your dentist that you are pregnant, so that some treatments can be avoided.

Dental treatment between the third to sixth month is the best time for both you and your baby.

It is important to maintain good oral health during pregnancy:

Quit smoking

Smoking affects your whole body including your mouth and your baby's hearth win suffer too.


 

Tooth decay

Gum disease - gingivitis and periodcntitis

Pregnant women are more likely to develop gingivitis, (gums bleed while brushing) due to pregnancy hormones effecting 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:


 

How can I avoid tooth decay and gum disease?

Simple: get into the habit of cleaning your teeth properly every day and visiting your dentist regularly.

Brush thoroughly at least twice a day, preferably in the morning and before bed. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush or a good quality power toothbrush—look for modern designs that are safe and gentle to use. Many incorporate advanced technology that allows them to remove plaque more effectively than ordinary
manual toothbrushes.

Take your time. You should spend at least two minutes brushing to remove the plaque that is constantly forming on your teeth.

Use toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride is proven to help prevent cavities.

Clean between teeth daily. Use floss or other interdental cleaners to remove plaque from areas that your toothbrush can’t reach. Did you know, if you don’t floss, you’re leaving up to 40% of your tooth surfaces untouched and uncleaned?

Should I tell my dentist that Iʼm pregnant?

As soon as you believe that you are pregnant, tell your dentist because it may not be safe to have x-rays during pregnancy. You should also let your dentist know if you are tending to get pregnant: knowing this can help in planning x-rays or other treatments.

Tell your dentist what medicines you are taking and iffier physician has given you any specific medical advice, as it may affect the treatment given.

What should I know about my diet?

Your body is the sole source of nourishment for your unborn child. Check with your physician as he or she is the best source for detailed information on what to eat while you are pregnant. In general, however, you should try to eat more foods that are rich in calcium—these are especially good for developing teeth and bones.

When do my baby’s teeth start developing?

Your baby’s first teeth will begin to develop about three months into your pregnancy. And the healthier your diet is, the greater the likelihood that your baby’s teeth and gums will be healthy, too.

How should I care for my infant’ s teeth and gums?

Even before your baby’s teeth appear, it’s a good idea to start caring for them.

After feeding your baby, use a damp washcloth or piece of gauze to wipe the gums—this will remove any plaque that has formed. Ask your dentist, hygienist, or paediatrician to show you the best way to do this.

Once teeth appear, brush after feeding with a soft-bristled toothbrush.

What is "baby bottle tooth decay?"

If a baby is put to bed with a bottle containing milk (even breast milk), formula, arduous, the sugar in the drink and the bacteria in your baby’s mouth can interact to form an acid that attacks the enamel in your baby’s teeth and may cause tooth decay. Fortunately, this is easy to prevent; iffier baby needs a bedtime bottle, fill it with water instead.

When should I first take my baby to the dentist?

Try to schedule your childʼs first dental visit sometime between the eruption of the first tooth and one year of age. At this time, the dentist will check your child’s teeth, gums, and jaw for any problems and show you the right way to clean and care for your child’ s teeth.

A time to be healthy and happy!

As a mother-to-be, what you do to take care of your health (including your diet) affects the development of your baby’s teeth and gums. And as your body goes through a process of change, it is also important to pay particular attention to your own oral hygiene. Maintaining a good daily oral hygiene routine can help keep potential problems from developing.

Don’t forget that this is a time in your life to enjoy the natural changes that take place in your body—so radiate health and vitality by keeping your smile bright!

 

Pregnancy and oral hygiene a quick guide: