Look After Your Teeth During Pregnancy

No news yet. Baby does feel a lot lower generally. Yesterday was an epic day though. 4 out of 4 on my pregnancy routine. On top of that I had an hour long walk, entertained my mum and my aunt (got a free massage… Result!) and even started working on some tax return stuff. Today I’m up early getting ready for my 41 week check in. According to mine and hubby’s original calculations we think we might actually be at 39 weeks. But who really knows, some long living sperm here, a date we forgot about there, add in that 1st time mums are often overdue and what do you get? An Eaton Mess of due dates. Either way we’ll see what happens. But on to something that I don’t think is talked about enough…

Ever heard the phrase ‘Gain a child, lose a tooth’? It sounds like an old wives’ tale but there does seem to be some truth to it. During pregnancy I have noticed some basic changes with my eating habits: eating sweeter things more often, eating in the middle of the night and not brushing, chewing less gum as the flavour is too overpowering etc, things I’d normally keep in check before I was pregnant. What I have noticed is this leaves a sour taste in my mouth more often during the day which I’m guessing is an increase in acid. I have been lucky enough to have had no fillings so far in my adult teeth and now regrettably I think I’m seeing the start of a cavity!

Teeth are massively important to us although we take them for granted… until there’s a problem. Imagine for a moment your front tooth fell out? You’d be devastated, at least I know I would. Fillings are traumatic enough let alone trying to get an implant etc. So looking after your teeth during pregnancy is a massive thing and I honestly do not feel there is enough out there on the topic. You may already know but currently in the UK, we’re lucky enough to get free dental treatment whilst pregnant and for the 1st year after the baby is born. Here are a few thoughts from my dentist friend Saima Majid: 

What happens: You may know that during pregnancy levels of oestrogen and progesterone are increased, this can lead to gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums. Some pregnant women will notice swelling and/or bleeding gums. The severity of the gingivitis tends to increase from the second to the eighth month of pregnancy, but usually resolves after the birth of the baby. 

Gingivitis, if left untreated or unmanaged (in certain susceptible individuals), can spread to the bone supporting the teeth. This is called periodontitis; the condition is more advanced and in severe cases can lead to tooth loss. 

Consequently pregnant women will not lose a tooth just because they are pregnant. However, if they have existing gum problems these will be exacerbated due to the increase in hormones during pregnancy. If this is combined with poor dental hygiene over prolonged periods, tooth loss can occur. 

What I can do to help: During pregnancy good plaque control is essential to prevent/manage gingivitis, this can be achieved by brushing twice daily -including along the gum line, and flossing twice daily.  If you experience bleeding gums it is important not to shy away from the gums this will only make the condition worse. Try to see your dentist regularly  so that they can monitor the condition of the gums. 

Unfortunately some pregnant women also experience morning sickness; if severe the acid can be quite destructive to the teeth. Some tips on minimising acid erosion include avoiding brushing teeth for about 30 minutes after sickness, and using a high fluoride mouthwash, to help remineralise the tooth enamel.’

Saima Majid, Oasis Dental Care, 3 Station St, Burton on Trent, DE14 1AN 

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