Pregnancy can lead to problems with your teeth for several reasons. Pregnant women are at risk of gum problems and can suffer damage to their teeth from acid and tooth decay. In this article we will explore the problems that you may encounter as you grow a brand new person inside you. We will also discuss how to prevent these problems so that your teeth do not suffer any permanent damage.
The good news is that pregnancy does not automatically weaken your teeth. A lot of people believe this but it is not true. Your body will never taken calcium from your teeth to grow your baby. Most women will get enough calcium from their diet but if you don’t, your body will take calcium from your bones rather than teeth. In the majority of cases, any calcium lost from your bones during pregnancy will be replaced after you finish breastfeeding.
Every single problem that can affect your teeth during pregnancy can be prevented. Whether a problem with your gums or your teeth, you can avoid it.
‘Morning sickness’ affects the majority of women at some point during their pregnancy. For most women, nausea and vomiting will stop after 14 weeks of pregnancy. Excessive vomiting during pregnancy is known as hyperemesis gravidarum.
The big issue with being sick is that the acid from your stomach can attack and damage your teeth. The acid can start to wash away the surface of your enamel and cause permanent damage.
Here are a few tips to protect your teeth as much as possible from damage:
1. After being sick, rinse your mouth with water to get rid of the acid.
2. Once or twice a day, you can rinse with a fluoride mouthwash. The fluoride will help to protect and strengthen your enamel.
3. DO NOT brush your teeth straight after being sick. The acid in the sick will soften the top layer of your enamel. If you brush straight after being sick, you will brush away this softened top layer. Wait at least 30 minutes after being sick to brush your teeth.
4. Brush with a fluoride toothpaste. You can brush more frequently than you normally would. Spit out the toothpaste but do not rinse with water. This leaves a little bit of fluoride on the teeth that keeps protecting them.
5. Ask your dentist if there are any products that they would recommend to you. They may wish to prescribe you a higher fluoride toothpaste for extra protection.
Your body is going through loads of changes while you are pregnant.
‘Well, duh!’ you say. ‘I worked that out for myself, thank you.’
The hormones that flow around your body change too. The changes to your hormones will often make your gums extremely sensitive to plaque.
Plaque is a soft build up of bacteria on your teeth and gums. Plaque naturally builds up on everyone’s teeth and it’s the whole reason that we brush our teeth. The bacteria in plaque are what cause tooth decay and gum disease.
When plaque is left on your gums, your gums will become irritated and will bleed. During pregnancy, this can go a bit bananas and if any plaque is left on your teeth and gums, your gums will bleed like mad.
The good news is that you can stop your gums bleeding. If your brushing is good, you will remove the plaque and your gums will stop bleeding. Your gums will only bleed when there is plaque on them. Do not be put off by some bleeding while you brush your teeth. The bleeding is showing you where you need to concentrate on brushing better.
This is an obscure little point but I’ll explain it anyway. During pregnancy, some women will get a little growth on their gums. It tends to be pink and round. It’s quite rare but this is called a pregnancy epulis.
If you get any little growths in your mouth, you should visit your dentist to have it checked. If it happens during pregnancy, it could be a pregnancy epulis. It’s nothing to worry about and normally doesn’t need any treatment. After you give birth, this little growth tends to go away on its own.
Seeing the dentist during pregnancy
It’s really important that you have regular examinations with the dentist during your pregnancy. Dentists will often avoid things like dental x-rays while you are pregnant for your peace of mind. However, dental x-rays are generally completely safe during pregnancy so if you do need an x-ray, do not worry.
The European Union have said that pregnant women should not have amalgam, metal fillings placed during pregnancy. Strangely, this is actually aimed at reducing pollution of dental materials going into the environment. There is no evidence to say that metal fillings are unsafe.
With a new arrival on the way, it’s obvious that your teeth may not be your first priority. I wouldn’t expect them to be. But hopefully, our advice in this article gives you an idea of what to expect and how to protect your teeth while pregnant.
If you are pregnant, many congratulations! We really hope that everything goes smoothly. If we can offer any further advice, please contact us through the website.