So many changes are happening to a woman’s body during pregnancy due to the surge of hormones and increased blood flow through your body.
For some, pregnancy is a wonderful experience and for others it can bring about unpleasant symptoms which are different for everyone. Change to the oral cavity is not an area that is discussed much in pregnancy books or among friends or family. Probably because there are so many other things to discuss and focus on while you are pregnant! It is important that you aware of possible changes that can occur and how to manage them. Below are just a few common problems that arise during pregnancy, but your dentist is the best person to see to discuss how they may or may not impact you. If you are planning pregnancy, a dental check-up prior to falling pregnant is always recommended. You dont want a toothache during pregnancy and we want to limit any x-rays or anaesthetic that we have to give you should a dental emergency or toothache arise.
Spontaneous bleeding of gums/ Bleeding during brushing/ Soreness of gums
Some women experience sore, puffy gums which can be just localised to one area or affect generally all their gums. This is often accompanied by bleeding, particularly during brushing. An increase in the body’s hormone levels and increase in blood circulation can contribute to these signs and symptoms. If you are brushing and flossing as you should be and have always had good oral hygiene and have been regular with your dental check-ups and cleans, then these symptoms should pass as you get to the later stages of your pregnancy or once the baby arrives. You should continue to brush and floss these areas as avoiding them will only make it worse. There have been reports in the media about poor oral hygiene correlating with the birth of low-weight or pre-term babies. This is not confirmed. However, poor oral hygiene is bad for you any way and getting it right now sets you and your family up for healthy mouths in future.
Increased snacking and increased sugar consumption
Your body requires you to eat a lot more and more often while you are pregnant. Afterall, you are eating for two! Although we know we are supposed to eat a healthy diet, we often turn to yummy foods which can be high in sugar to satisfy our cravings. This increase in sugar intake increases our risk for tooth decay so just be weary of this.
Erosion from vomiting/gastric reflux
Some women suffer from morning or even “all-day” sickness and vomiting and gastric reflux can be quite destructive on your teeth. The acid can cause erosion of the enamel of your teeth which can lead to sensitivity and loss of this protective outer layer of your tooth which can never grow back. Sucking lemons to reduce nausea can also be destructive in this way and constant snacking can lead to increase risk of decay. Drink plenty of water during the day and especially after any vomiting or gastric reflux. Snack on foods which are low in sugar and avoid brushing immediately following any acidic exposure. Talk to your dentist for further advice prior to or during your pregnancy.