Are you looking for the best ways to look after your oral health during pregnancy? You're in the right place. You are at increased risk of developing gum disease, which could affect the health of your developing baby. This increased risk is due to the hormonal changes your body will go through during pregnancy.
The Irish Dental Association would advise that you visit your dentist for a comprehensive assessment. . “Most oral health conditions during pregnancy can be managed with regular dental visits and home-care before and during the pregnancy, and in most cases, they resolve after delivery.”
✓ PREGNANCY GINGIVITIS
The changes in your body during pregnancy can produce more bacterial plaque and cause increased redness, bleeding and swelling of the gums.
During pregnancy, reversible inflammation of the gums usually appears at the end of the first trimester and may continue throughout. A good brushing and mouth rinse twice daily is recommended.
✓ DENTAL EROSION
Routine care such as fillings, etc are best carried out in the second trimester or if absolutely required, in the third trimester – but you can have your teeth polished throughout your pregnancy. This is highly recommended to avoid later gum problems.
Dental erosion occurs more during pregnancy due to a higher acidic environment in the mouth and during the third trimester especially from gastric reflux. You can reduce the risk of reflux by eating small, light meals at regular intervals, and by staying hydrated. Sip fluoridated tap water throughout the day.
You could prevent heartburn by sleeping propped up with a few pillows, and in the event of an episode of reflux, rinse out with fluoridated tap water and leave the mouth rest for at least 40 minutes before brushing your teeth with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
Gum disease, tooth decay and erosion are common during pregnancy if oral care is poor. Your immune system can become weaker and harder to fight infections e.g. abscesses. A healthy low-sugar diet and regular oral hygiene are recommended.
► DENTAL TREATMENTS
- Dental x-rays during pregnancy are best limited to those needed for diagnosis and taken after the first trimester.
- Non-routine or elective treatment such as tooth-whitening, any aesthetic or interdisciplinary dental care is best deferred until after the delivery, and in some cases after the early breastfeeding period.
- Scaling and polishing with regular professional care at the dentist is strongly recommended and safe all through pregnancy.
- Routine care such as fillings, etc are best carried out in the second trimester or if absolutely required, in the third trimester.
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