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Dental Care During Pregnancy

Are you expecting an addition to your family, or planning for a baby?

Ever wondered what impact your oral health has on your unborn child?

Visiting the dentist while pregnant is highly recommended for your own wellbeing and that of your unborn child. Routine dental treatment is safe during pregnancy, however it’s the timing that matters.

Many women can develop gum disease during pregnancy because of natural hormonal changes in the body. If gum disease becomes severe, the infection can affect an unborn baby’s development. Preventative care appointments are important to keep potential gum disease at bay that could lead to premature birth or a low birth weight baby. It’s also important to get other necessary procedures done such as treating decay which would stop the transfer of decay-causing bacteria from you to your baby.

It’s good to get any procedures done by the second trimester. In the third trimester, it becomes difficult to stay comfortable. Once you’ve reached the third trimester, it’s best to postpone treatments until after the baby’s born, unless you absolutely need them.

During pregnancy we avoid taking radiographs until after the baby is born. However, should an emergency procedure require radiographs, which are safe to take, we would defer them just for your peace of mind.

Although the dental care you’ll get while pregnant will probably be routine, there are a few tips to consider:

1. If you’re planning to have a baby, it’s wise to make a dentist appointment before you get started.  Your gums can be examined for good health, and if there are any problems, you can get them taken care of early.

2. Inform us when you are pregnant so we can advise you of any special instructions and adjust your dental plan to best suit.

3. Focus on eating a balanced and healthy diet. Cravings are normal during pregnancy but remember that these snacks will increase your chances of tooth decay and gum disease. Eat a nutritious diet every day including fruits, vegetables, grains, beans and lean meats. Try not to eat too many sweet foods.

4. Your baby starts to grow his or her teeth after about three months. Make sure you’re getting plenty of calcium by eating enough yoghurt, cheese, and other dairy products. These foods also help your baby develop healthy bones and gums.

5. Your growing baby's calcium demands are high so you should increase your own calcium consumption to compensate. Eat calcium-enriched foods such as dairy or soy alternatives.

6. Pregnant women who experience morning sickness with vomiting and/or acid reflux are at high risk of tooth erosion. To reduce risk of tooth erosion and damage to your teeth after vomiting/reflux you can:

    - Rinse your mouth immediately with water or a mouth rinse after vomiting.

    - Chew sugar free gum to stimulate saliva to neutralise and wash away acid.

    - Smear a little bit of toothpaste over your teeth with your finger.

    - Wait at least 30 minutes before brushing to avoid damaging softened enamel surface due to the acid.

Getting dental care during pregnancy isn’t risky for mum and baby, rather it is vital for the health of both. If there were any issues that have been put off during the pregnancy, it’s best to get dental care as soon as possible post pregnancy. So don’t delay the care you need.