One of the areas we overlook during pregnancy is our oral health. We take a look at the changes pregnancy plays on our mouths and how to keep everything healthy
March is the month we traditionally celebrate motherhood and everything mothers do.
Becoming a parent will often completely change the way we live our lives and in the mother’s case, causes change to their bodies. A mother’s body will grow a completely new organ – the placenta – starting from only a few cells. This will continue to grow until it weighs around one pound.
The human body goes through some amazing transformations as it develops another human life. And the mouth is not immune to those changes either.
So, to celebrate Mother’s Day, we thought we’d pull together a few quick facts about oral health during pregnancy to help ensure you keep your smile in tip top condition.
Completely amazing, but true – a recent study has suggested oral bacteria can pass to the womb from the mouth.
However, scientists could not establish whether the bacteria was still alive by the time it reached the foetus.
The study reinforces the importance of looking after our teeth during pregnancy. It’s not just the mother’s oral health that could be impacted.
Erosion due to vomiting
Unfortunately many pregnant mothers-to-be suffer from morning sickness. This is thought to be due to a hormone released during the early stages of pregnancy to help the fertilised egg attach to the uterine lining.
Morning sickness, as well as making life for some very difficult and uncomfortable, can cause erosion of our teeth due to the acid reflux. It is important to swill our mouths with water after any such episode.
It’s also important to avoid brushing our teeth for at least 30 minutes after any acid attack, such as any dietary acid (eg fruits, fizzy drinks, and much more!) and from reflux (tummy acids).
Acid attacks soften the tooth’s enamel, so brushing during this time will remove even more healthy enamel.
Instead, it’s best to swill our mouths with water (or an alkaline liquid), and then brush our teeth as part of our twice daily routine, after about an hour when the pH in our oral cavity has returned to normal.
The NHS website points to hormonal changes during pregnancy as the main reason for the increase in susceptibility.
If left untreated, this can later lead to more serious problems such as periodontitis.
However, it’s important to point out that brushing our teeth twice a day for two minutes with a toothbrush is an easy way to help manage gum disease.
As well as this, our hygienists are on hand to help with any stubborn hard to reach areas. They can also help improve your brushing techniques and give you advice on areas you might be missing.
Dietary habits tend to change during pregnancy with much more snacking. Self care, such as tooth brushing/oral hygiene may not be as rigorous as usual either during pregnancy and this increases the risk of tooth decay.
Where’s the good news?
A lot of the issues are reversible if caught early. Gum disease for example can be easily reversed with the right intervention, as well as the right toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash and floss.
If you’ve recently found out you're pregnant, or you’re due soon, we strongly recommend you book an appointment with one of our hygienists at Pond Square Dental.
The mouth is the entry point to the body and so can reveal a lot about how things are going and how you’re feeling.
We’ll work with you to ensure that your smile is in tip top shape for all those photos when your new member of the family arrives.
Concerned about the health of your teeth during pregnancy? Just get in touch and we can put your mind at ease.