Congratulations if you are expecting a baby! Particularly if this is your first pregnancy, there are some things you should know about looking after your oral health at this exciting time.
Most dental work is safe while pregnant. In fact any dental work that needs doing such as hygiene appointments, fillings or crowns should be treated while you are pregnant to reduce any chance of infection entering your blood stream. Don’t put it off, remember that in the third trimester of your pregnancy it may be uncomfortable for you to lie down too long! The second trimester may be the best option as some medications are not advised in the first trimester so remember to advise your dentist that you are expecting a baby.
Natural hormone changes in the body and an increase in sensitivity to oral bacteria levels make you more susceptible to gum disease at this time. This must be treated in pregnancy as it can lead to premature birth or a low birth weight baby. Signs to look out for are bleeding gums, red (not pink) gums, swollen gums or bad breath.
If you have been vomiting, then you are at a high risk of tooth erosion. Stomach acid is strong enough to dissolve tooth enamel and, if you brush just after vomiting, you can further damage your teeth. Rinse with water or chew sugar free gum after being sick and wait half an hour before you brush to avoid damaging the softened enamel surfaces. If you find you are gagging, it may be easier for you to brush and floss in the evening rather than first thing in the morning. A soft tooth brush is recommended.
Eating and Drinking
Drinking fluoridated water will help strengthen and protect your teeth at this time. Your baby has high calcium demands so drinking low fat milk as well as eating dark leafy greens, low fat milk and yogurt, cheese and fish canned with their bones are all good sources of calcium for you and for baby.
We encourage you to start practicing gum care with your baby even before they have teeth! After their last feed of the day, wipe your baby’s gums and mouth with a soft cloth moistened with warm water. When their teeth erupt you can gently brush with water and a soft, child size toothbrush. Practice bringing your baby to the dentist with you so they get used to the environment. Their first visit may be sitting on your knee in the chair so get them used to coming in so it won’t be a frightening experience when they get their first dental examination. We recommend seeing them when their first primary teeth have erupted to check they are developing as they should be and to start a lifetime of healthy oral care.