Pregnancy, Gum Disease And Other Oral Health Issues

Expecting a child can pose certain challenges for your teeth and gums

Smiling coupleReceiving the news that you will be adding a new life to your family can be a very exciting time. For some women, being pregnant is a great period of their life, but this certainly doesn’t apply to everyone. Whilst some seem to sail through it with relatively few difficulties, others find it much more challenging with morning sickness being one of the most common issues that often arises.

Without a doubt, this period of time can provide great moments of joy but also puts a physical strain on the mum to be. Hormonal changes mean that health issues are likely to occur during this time and unfortunately, this includes potential health challenges to their teeth and gums.

Gum disease

Due to changes in the body and hormonal changes especially, women are at a greater risk of gum disease when they are pregnant. Both gingivitis and periodontitis (and potentially peri-implantitis if you have dental implants) are a real risk at this time and can result in loose and wobbly teeth and even tooth loss can’t be ruled out.

There is little that you can do to prevent these hormonal changes, but you can make sure that you take every precaution to minimise the impact that they will have on your teeth and gums.

General oral health care

As patients of the Cygnet Dental Practice will know, we put a lot of emphasis on preventative oral health care at our Wickford clinic. This doesn’t change during your pregnancy and indeed, you will need to pay extra attention to looking after your teeth and gums during this time. This in itself may be a challenge as tiredness and general lethargy may mean that you simply don’t have the energy to carry out some of your usual everyday tasks. As far as your oral health goes, we encourage you to fight through this tiredness, at least to make sure that you brush and floss your teeth well, especially before going to bed at night when you may well feel very tired indeed.

Making sure that you brush and floss your teeth well will help to offset not only the increase in potentially harmful oral bacteria that can occur due to hormonal changes, but also the possible increase in sugar intake caused by the food cravings that many pregnant women experience.

One word of caution here for those who suffer from morning (or anytime) sickness during pregnancy; the acids that pass over your teeth when you are sick can cause the enamel to soften. Although this might appear to be a good time to brush your teeth in order to take the taste away; doing so does mean that you can wear away the enamel quicker, potentially eventually resulting in sensitive teeth. We recommend that instead of brushing straight away, you swill water around your mouth and try to leave half an hour before you brush your teeth.

Teeth whitening

As a growing number of people choose to have their teeth whitened by their dentist, it is inevitable that some of these will fall pregnant at some point. Many women will want to retain their appearance as best as they can during pregnancy and may wonder whether they can still have their teeth whitened whilst they are expecting their child.

Professional advice says that it is safe to do so but also encourages pregnant women to consider delaying this treatment until after they have given birth, and even then you may need to discuss this with our Wickford dental team if you are breastfeeding.  To date, there is no clear evidence that teeth whitening is harmful to an unborn child. The reality though is that research into this area is relatively limited and whilst no evidence to date shows any significant risks, there is always the possibility that this could change. Consequently we feel that caution should be the watchword here and would advise you to avoid any unnecessary risks to the health of the baby.

How we can help you

Naturally, we are always here to offer you any advice if you find that you are having any oral health issues during your pregnancy. Please don’t delay contacting us if you have any concerns at all. We also advise that you increase the frequency of your visits to the hygienist to help you maintain healthy gums during this period of time. A regular scale and polish is a great way to stay on top of any oral health issues that can arise with an increase in mouth bacteria.

If you would like any further advice or would like to make an appointment at the Cygnet Dental Practice, please do so by calling us on 01268 733078.