Pregnancy and oral health – what you need to know

pregnancy and oral health

When it comes to pregnancy and oral health, there are some things every expectant Mum needs to be aware of.

As most mums will tell you, having a baby is wonderful, but nine months of being pregnant can take its toll.

Pregnancy affects nearly every aspect of a woman’s health, and that includes her oral health.

Looking out for the warning signs of possible pregnancy-related conditions is important, as treatment can begin early, nipping any further serious issues in the bud.

Pregnancy and oral health issues

There’s an old wives’ tale which warns a woman to expect to lose a tooth with every child. This isn’t true at all, but there are some genuine health issues associated with being pregnant.

Pregnancy Gingivitis

A lot of women will experience changes in their gums during pregnancy, with swelling, redness and bleeding not uncommon. These issues can start as early as the second month, but soon stop after the birth.

The cause of pregnancy gingivitis is different from regular gingivitis, hence the different name. While we’re not 100% sure what causes it, it’s thought the hormone change might be largely responsible, with progesterone increasing by tenfold, possibly enhancing the growth of the bacteria which causes the disease.

Enamel erosion

This may happen if a woman is unlucky enough to suffer from extreme morning sickness. Constant vomiting is very hard on your oesophagus, mouth, and teeth, with the acid from your stomach burning its way up each time you retch.

Stomach acid is pure hydrochloric acid, and can be strong enough to eat away at the enamel on your teeth. Even after pregnancy, if a woman continues to suffer from heartburn or acid reflux, tooth erosion can still be an issue.

If morning sickness is a problem, then remember to brush afterwards, getting rid of that acid before it can do any real damage.

Too much or too little saliva

A small percentage of pregnant women report having too much saliva in their mouths, usually very early on during their pregnancy. It usually doesn’t last very long, but does come with nausea.

Much more common is a dry mouth, which puts women at a greater risk for problems such as infections and tooth decay. Simply drinking plenty of water should fight this problem, or sucking on some lollies during the day – sugar free of course!

Pregnancy “tumours”

Don’t let the name scare you! This condition developed by some women, usually during the second trimester, isn’t serious. Small growths sometimes appear between the teeth, caused by the change in hormones. They look like little raspberries and are usually painless, but your dentist can remove them if they begin to cause discomfort. Once the baby is born, these little lumps will disappear on their own.

pregnant woman at dentist

Visiting your dentist while pregnant

If you’re planning on getting pregnant, a full check-up, scale and polish is recommended beforehand. This will help fix any issues you may have before the pregnancy commences, after which treatment may become difficult.

If you are already pregnant, make sure to tell your dentist, as pregnancy and oral health is a specific situation they will want to be aware of. They may want to postpone your treatment or change your medication,

The best time to visit is during the second trimester. During the first trimester, the developing foetus is very sensitive to outside influence, and during the third, the uterus is the same, creating a small risk of premature delivery. And as comfortable as you may be with your dentist, you don’t want them delivering your child in their office!

Let us look after your oral health while pregnant

Being pregnant is difficult enough, especially when you start getting big. Sitting in a dentist’s chair will be uncomfortable, and if you’re not great at relaxing in the first place, things can get stressful, for both you and the baby.

That’s where SDAI come in. Our philosophy is all about patient care. We want you to be as relaxed and comfortable as possible, and everything about our process is designed for that – especially when it comes to pregnancy and oral health.

Our team of highly trained doctors and empathetic, dedicated staff, aim to make sure your visit with us is as stress-free as possible, resulting in the very best in dental care in Sydney.

If you are pregnant and notice any of the previous symptoms, please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have. We’ll be happy to help ease your mind and find the right treatment for you. When it comes to pregnancy and oral health, you can never be too careful or have too much information.