Have you heard the old wives tale "you lose a tooth with every child"?
This is just not true. Calcium does not come out of your teeth in any circumstance.
However there are changes in your mouth during pregnancy which can cause changes in your oral health
The main changes revolve around the pregnancy hormones. These same hormones that are necessary to maintain your pregnancy cause a change in the blood vessels in your gums. The gums reactly strongly to any plaque present and therefore there is often an increase in the amount of bleeding and gum growth during the first and third trimesters primarily.
If you already suffer from periodontal(gum) disease then this will lead to acceleration of the disease process and can result in more acute symptoms.
Periodontitis during pregnancy has been linked with
- premature birth and low birth weight
- pre-eclampsia ( high blood pressure)
- pregnancy diabetes
The second main change revolves around the acidity of the mother to be's mouth. If you have suffered from morning sickness then the nausea and vomiting will cause the oral enviroment to be acidic. The acids dissolve enamel and make decay much more likely. The snacking that often accompanies pregnancy also results in high availability of foods for decay causing bacteria, increasing your caries risk. Finally often in the third trimester there is gastric reflux caused by the pressing of the uterus onto the stomach. The reflux again causing oral acidity.
What should I do during pregnancy?
- see your dentist early in your pregnancy, get your teeth and gums checked. Have x-rays taken before you plan to get pregnant. Avoiding dental treatment during pregnancy is unnecessary. Local anaesthesia is not dangerous to the foetus or mother. Neglecting dental problems during pregnancy has been shown to be more detrimental to both the mother and the foetus. The best time for dental treatment is between the third and six month.
- brush at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
- don't rinse after brushing just spit, this keeps the mouth alkaline and keeps fluoride available. This fluoride is incorporated into the developing baby teeth of the foetus. This is the most important time to have fluoride available for the baby's development.
- don't smoke www.quitnow.info.au
- drink tap water often
- have a healthy diet avoid snacking on sweet sticky foods
- after vomiting rinse your mouth with water but avoid brushing for 30 mins, a smear of toothpaste can help.
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