Your Oral Health is intimately connected to your General Health especially during pregnancy. The most obvious connection is the increased sensitivity of your gums to the presence of dental plaque biofilm around the necks of your teeth. This is caused by change in the levels of two hormones estrogen and progesterone circulating in your body which are a normal part of a healthy pregnancy. When oral hygiene is not good, the gums can become swollen, red and may bleed spontaneously and especially when brushing. This tendency can last until the eight month and ease off after this. Pregnancy gingivitis should never be ignored, a visit to the dentist or hygienist is essential. Very simple measures can reverse the condition, a dental cleaning combined with good daily homecare including brushing, flossing and a mouth rinse will return the gums to good health. Failure to follow up, at this time could lead to gum disease becoming more serious and causing other health problems.
There are several other reasons why a dental visit is beneficial, as there are other changes occurring in your mouth and body. The change in hormone levels may also reduce salivary flow causing some dryness in the mouth making the gums more prone to soreness, ulceration, and infection. A far greater concern is dental decay spreading in your teeth. Normally dental decay is kept in check by saliva (spit), it has healing powers through the presence of Calcium, Phosphate and Fluoride. Early decay if already present may spread more rapidly through the white enamel and dentin towards the nerve and blood vessels of the tooth when saliva is lacking. Further damage may be caused by saliva becoming more acidic due to vomiting, leading to dental erosion which is the loss of the outer layer of tooth enamel. Craving for sweet carbohydrate foods which promotes dental decay adds another layer of complexity to a volatile situation in your mouth. Your dentist and hygienist are well equipped to spot the danger signs and take the necessary measures to reverse and minimise any harm from developing. As with all things dental, most of the work must be done by yourself at home.
In addition to careful brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and using floss or other interdental cleaner at least twice a day, a mouthwash containing a quarter teaspoon of salt and a quarter teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water should be used after vomiting. Do not brush after vomiting, just use the mouth wash, leave the brushing until later.
Visiting the dentist and finding out how to look after your mouth and teeth during pregnancy is one of the best gifts you can give your developing child while also protecting your own oral health and general health. Mothers who have good gum health on average give birth to babies who are the correct weight and size in comparison to mothers who have poor gum health who on average give birth to low-birth-weight babies. Poor gum health is related to several general health conditions.
Additional Cleaning for People with Diabetes
Pregnancy brings about changes in your body, including your oral health. Hormonal ﬂuctuations can make you more prone to gum health issues. DeCare now provide an extra dental cleaning for expectant mothers*, ensuring your smile and wellbeing are protected as you prepare to welcome your little one.
*(Available on Healthy Smiles Levels 3 & 4, TeamCare Levels 3 & 3+, or TeamCare Access Levels 3 & 3+)