Most women experience a change to their teeth and gums during pregnancy. This could include any number of issues from redder gums and bleeding gums during brushing to tenderness, swelling, and sore gums. This is known as pregnancy gingivitis and can start as early as the second month of pregnancy and peak around the 8th month, but goes away once the baby is born.
Pregnancy gingivitis occurs as a result of hormonal changes during pregnancy, as higher levels of oestrogen and progesterone exaggerate the way the gums react to irritants in plaque and enhances the growth of bacteria. This results in the gums becoming more vulnerable to plaque which leads to inflammation and bleeding and makes your gums more at risk to gum disease.
Keeping teeth and gums clean and healthy is important during pregnancy. Follow these tips to prevent issues:
Your teeth and gums require special attention with a thorough dental routine to remove plaque and avoid excess build up. Clean the teeth twice a day for 2 minutes with a fluoride toothpaste, making sure to brush where the teeth meet the gums to brush away the bacteria and plaque that leads to gum disease. Floss once daily between the teeth to remove food debris and bacteria to stop it developing into plaque and gum disease. Finish by rinsing the mouth with an antimicrobial mouth rinse.
Eat a balanced diet that avoids sugary and acidic drinks and foods as bacteria in plaque thrives off sugar and acid weakens enamel. Increase your calcium intake through foods such as milk, cheese, yoghurt, spinach, and almonds to help develop your baby’s teeth.
If you suffer from morning sickness, rinse your mouth with water after vomiting to prevent acid from the stomach eroding the teeth and wait an hour before brushing the teeth to prevent softening the teeth.
Dry mouth during pregnancy is also an issue that can put you at risk of tooth decay and infection. To prevent any issues, drink lots of water to stay hydrated and chew sugarless gum to enhance saliva production.
You should continue to visit your dentist for regular checkups during your pregnancy. Tell your dentist if you are pregnant and book an appointment as your dentist can perform a professional clean, catch any problems before they worsen, and recommend any treatments.