Dr Kristen Griffin explains the importance of Oral Care during your Pregnancy
Pregnancy can be one of the most exciting times in a woman’s life, but it can also be one of the most overwhelming. Lifestyle & body changes as well as hormonal fluctuations often initiate dramatic upheaval and thus managing all these changes can be daunting. A particular focus on self-care is needed to ensure healthy outcomes for both you and your baby and your dental health is an important component. A few basic considerations will set you and your baby on the right path to optimum dental health, below is some information to help you make good decisions and achieve better outcomes.
Tips for the Mumma’s to be…
Plan to visit your dentist regularly, remember routine dental treatment is safe and necessary while you are pregnant.
The ideal time to visit your dentist is before you become pregnant, this will help you avoid the need for emergency treatment. If however you are already pregnant, it is highly recommended that you visit your dentist as soon as possible.
Be sure to tell your dentist you are pregnant or plan to be soon, that way they can tailor your treatment needs/requirements to your circumstances. This will help the dental team can ensure your comfort and the health safety of you and your baby.
Learn how to protect your teeth from irreversible damage caused from common pregnancy symptoms such as Acid Reflux, Vomiting and Morning Sickness
Erosion (acid wear), can dissolve the protective (enamel) layer of your teeth. This can be caused when stomach acids continually contact the tooth surface. You can limit the effects of this (or other dietary acids) by
- Immediately rinsing your mouth out with water
- Smearing your teeth with a little toothpaste on your fingertip
- Chewing sugar free gum to stimulate saliva
- Delaying brushing for at least 30 minutes (as acid act to soften the enamel layer of your teeth which can be easily damaged by your toothbrush bristles).
Craving sugary foods?
It is not only the quantity of sugar that is important but also the frequency of sugar intake. All sugars are not equal when it comes to teeth, those that are sticky will coat the teeth for longer and are harder for your saliva to clear from the mouth. Therefore avoiding, limiting how much & how often you have sugar and making better choices is important. Favouring whole food sources of sugar is the best way to get your ‘sweet fix’ from time to time, so get creative!
Why not try one of my favourite ‘go-to’ recipes…
This is a super quick, versatile and healthy way to satisfy those cravings.
Simply slice an apple crosswise into 1.5-2cm thick rings. Remove the core with a coring tool or small cookie cutter. Spread each apple ring with almond butter. Sprinkle with coconut.
You can change it up by using any other nut butter or, for a calcium boosting variation, why not try natural yoghurt. You can mix it up with your toppings too, how both trying grated carrot, sultanas, toasted oats, crushed nuts (if using yoghurt), sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs, cinnamon or strawberries. As you can see, the combinations are endless.
Sore or bleeding gums?
It is important to keep your gums (and teeth) healthy before, during and after pregnancy to give you and your baby the best start in this new journey together.
Hormone changes during pregnancy can lead to increased blood flow and greater inflammatory response to the bacteria that cause gingivitis and gum disease (periodontitis), basically your gums might become puffy, sore and more prone to bleeding. Brushing gently and thoroughly twice per day with a soft toothbrush and also flossing daily and rinsing your mouth after meals (with water or an Alcohol free mouthwash if your prefer).
If you need further motivation to embark on improving your dental selfcare during pregnancy, here are some facts about how what your do can affect outcomes for your baby.
Did you know
Periodontal disease has been linked to preterm and low birthweight babies?
The bacteria that cause decay (holes in teeth) can be transferred from mother to child at birth and in the months after?
Basically, if you have good dental health, you will be giving yourself and your baby the best chance at a healthy pregnancy and birth. You will also be helping them avoid early childhood decay and have healthy teeth for life.
We love helping our patients both big and small to achieve great outcomes on their dental journey. So, if you have questions, concerns or just need check-up, you’ll be in gentle hands with our caring team.