How to Protect Teeth During Pregnancy
If there were ever a time to take extra care of your teeth and gums, it’s during pregnancy. You’re at an increased risk of developing gum diseases like gingivitis. It’s vital you know how to protect your teeth during pregnancy, so we’ll take you through the basics of good oral hygiene.
Hormones cause a lot of changes to your body during pregnancy and can even affect the health of your mouth. You need to know how to protect your teeth during pregnancy. If you’re the kind of person who gives your teeth a quick brush twice a day, then you might want to continue reading. Good oral hygiene is essential during pregnancy as you are at increased risk of developing gum disease. This causes chronic inflammation which studies suggest can cause other health complications. Here’s how you can keep your pearly whites shining bright and your gums healthy.
Keeping Your Teeth and Gums Healthy
- NHS Dentist: Visit your dentist on a regular basis. NHS dental care is free during your pregnancy and for twelve months after. They will advise you how often you should make appointments after your first session.
- Clean your teeth twice a day: Make sure you brush for at least two minutes each time with a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral which is found in lakes, oceans and rivers. Brushing your teeth well with toothpaste containing fluoride is one of the most effective ways of preventing tooth decay. There’s a rise in popularity for natural toothpaste, most of which doesn’t contain fluoride, so check the ingredients carefully.
- Floss once a day: This helps prevent the build-up of plaque by removing small fragments of food from between your teeth.
- Avoid snacking on sugary foods and drinks: Sweet tea, fizzy drinks and sweet treats increase your risk of tooth decay. If you are struggling to reduce your intake or give them up, keep them to mealtimes instead. Check the ingredients lists of your foods as many ‘healthy’ foods have higher levels of sugar than you realise. If you are peckish between meals, swap your sugary or acidic foods with vegetables, fresh fruit, or plain yoghurt.
- Avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol: There are not enough studies to suggest whether the alcohol content in mouthwashes can adversely affect your or your baby’s health, but some doctors advise against it because it can cause dryness in your mouth.
- Stop smoking: Smoking can exacerbate gum disease.
- Use a salt rinse: This will help reduce inflammation if you’re suffering from gingivitis or gum disease. Just add a teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water. Swish the water in your mouth a couple of times before spitting it out.
- Rinse your mouth with water, then wait an hour before brushing your teeth after you’ve been sick: If you’re suffering from morning sickness, rinse your mouth with plain water to gently wash away as much vomit as possible. The acid in your vomit can damage your teeth. Don’t brush your teeth straight away as the acid in your vomit will have softened your teeth. Wait an hour instead.
If you’re suffering from bleeding or swollen gums, have sensitive or loose teeth, or are experiencing pain and discomfort when chewing, make an appointment to see your dentist.