Being pregnant is incredibly exciting. And it’s a time when you need to pay particular attention to looking after your teeth, especially your gums, with regular dental checkups and cleans.
During pregnancy your body will go through massive hormonal changes and an increase in blood flow. Due to these changes your gums are more likely to become inflamed, or even infected and bleed, if not being cared for correctly. Many pregnant women experience some bleeding of their gums, especially when brushing or flossing their teeth. This is one of the first signs of gingivitis (inflammation), which may turn into periodontal disease (infection) if left untreated. These infections, along with tooth decay, may harm your baby. So it is recommended that every pregnant woman to have a dental examination to check for any signs of gingivitis, periodontal disease or tooth decay.
A checklist of what you can do
- Keep your teeth and gums clean, which means brushing twice daily for a minimum of 2 minutes and flossing once daily.
- Be gentle with your teeth and gums and always use a soft-bristled toothbrush, a gentle brushing technique and a fluoride toothpaste.
- If you have extreme gum sensitivity, try using a sensitive toothpaste or talk with your dentist about what you can use.
- Cut down on sweets and candy. Try to make healthy snack choices such as fruit, vegie sticks or nuts.
- Have a dental checkup. Ideally it is best to do this before you fall pregnant, or in the early stages of pregnancy, then again throughout the pregnancy and afterwards. It is best to see your dentist more regularly while you are pregnant.
- Don’t put off dental work until after delivery as decaying teeth, gingivitis or periodontal disease might cause infection that could harm your baby.
- Always tell your dentist when you are pregnant and how far along you are.
Enjoy this special time in your life. It is a precious journey in which you will want to stay healthy and keep your baby healthy. So look after yourself, your body, your teeth and your gums, and have a dental checkup and clean when pregnant.