Dental care in pregnancy

It’s important for you to take good care of your teeth and gums whilst pregnant. Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that increase the risk of developing gum disease.

Before pregnancy
– If you’re planning to become pregnant, it’s a good idea to make a dental appointment beforehand. That way, your teeth can be professionally cleaned, gum tissues can be carefully examined and any oral health problems can be treated in advance of your pregnancy.
During pregnancy
– You should always tell your dentist if you are pregnant or think you might be. Routine dental care an be carried out at any time during pregnancy. Any urgent procedures can be done as well. It is advised that any elective procedures are postponed until after the birth of the baby.
– Inform your dentist of all medications you are taking, both prescribed and over the counter. Dental x-rays can be done during pregnancy. Advances in technology have made them much safer today than in past decades. If you have any concerns talk to your dentist who will evaluate your case and decide whether they can be postponed.
– Make sure you attend all your routine appointments. Now more than any other time, regular periodontal (gum) exams are very important, as pregnancy causes hormonal changes, these can put you at an increased risk for periodontal (gum) disease. Your gums may get tender and bleed easily, a condition called pregnancy gingivitis.
– Sometimes during pregnancy you can get an isolated area of swelling on part of the gum known as a pregnancy epulis or ‘pregnancy tumour’. Your dentist may offer to remove it but often they will grow back. They aren’t dangerous and usually disappear after the birth.
– If you notice any changes during pregnancy, if your gums become tender, swell or bleed more than usual, talk to your dentist or hygienist.
– Ensure you carry out good oral hygiene practices to prevent and/or reduce oral health problems.
– If you are struggling with morning sickness and it’s becoming a problem with toothbrushing you may find using a bland-tasting paste easier to tolerate.
– You can rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash if you have frequent bouts of vomiting.
– Try and avoid sugary snacks. You may experience sweet cravings during pregnancy. Keep in mind the more frequently you snack, the greater the chance of developing tooth decay.
– Your baby’s first teeth begin to develop about 3 months into pregnancy. Eat a healthy, balanced diet containing dairy produce. Cheese and yoghurt are good sources of these essential minerals and are good for developing teeth, gums and bones.
After pregnancy
– If you’ve experienced any gum problems during pregnancy, see your dentist and hygienist soon after delivery to have a full mouth examination.

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