Your guide to dental care during pregnancy
Becoming pregnant is an exciting time however for many women it can also be stressful and tiring. Pregnancy does not have any harmful effects on the teeth but tiredness and sometimes nausea can lead to women becoming lax in their oral health regime and eating habits(some women can crave for acidic drinks or sweets/chocolates).It is an important time for a woman to take care of herself and dental health is a necessary aspect of this.
Hormonal changes in pregnancy can make the gums more susceptible to irritation by plaque. They get swollen and are prone to bleeding but if plaque is well controlled by good oral hygiene habits especially brushing and flossing this should not pose a serious problem. If it continues see your dentist to prevent further problems and once the baby is born bleeding will stop.
Whilst pregnant it is essential to eat healthily and take folic acid supplements until the 12th week. It is recommended to avoid liver and liver products because they contain extra Vitamin A plus food sources of Toxoplasma, Salmonella and Listeria. It is also advisable to limit sugar containing foods and drink-best to keep to snacks like fruit or toast.
Regular dental health checks both during pregnancy and in following months are very important to ensure that serious problems do not arise, especially due to gum disease. NHS dental treatment is FREE during pregnancy, for a year after birth and for children up to age 18 years.
Routine dental treatment is not contraindicated and unnecessary medical and dental interventions are not advised at this time -for example elective surgery of wisdom tooth removal.
X-Rays are generally safe in pregnancy although some patients prefer not to have x-rays at this time unless absolutely necessary . Lead aprons are not mandatory as the mouth is far from abdomen. Neck collars are advised.
When required fillings during pregnancy are replaced with white fillings even if temporary until the baby is born as the government recommends avoiding amalgam fillings containing mercury.
Regular toothbrushing and flossing habits are extremely important in pregnancy.
Pregnancy (morning) Sickness
Vomiting is common in the early months of pregnancy and the stomach contents can be acidic. This acid can damage the tooth surface and it is important to rinse the mouth thoroughly after any episode of vomiting with water.