Do you know what to expect when you’re expecting?

As a soon-to-be mum, there’s a mind-bogglingly huge range of factors you’ll need to remember if you want to ensure a smooth, healthy pregnancy:

  • Diet
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Flu shots
  • Lifestyle changes

One thing that many first-time mums (as well as many seasoned pros!) overlook however is the importance of dental care before, during and after childbirth!

 

How pregnancy affects oral health

As any soon-to-be mum knows, their health has flow-on effects for the entire rest of the pregnancy.

What’s less well-known is the fact that the opposite is also true!

Pregnancy is a difficult time. It’ll change you physically, mentally and hormonally – and that includes your oral health too.

Changing hormones

During pregnancy, your body’s hormonal system kicks into overdrive – hence why pregnancy is such an emotional rollercoaster at time.

The changing hormone levels you’ll experience through pregnancy increase your risk of acquiring gum diseases and tooth problems.

That’s because hormones such as progesterone and estrogen facilitate the growth of bacteria, including the nasty variety that’s responsible for tooth decay and gingivitis.

Increased blood flow

One common physical side-effect of pregnancy is increased blood flow – your body needs to pump enough blood for two people now!

This increase in blood flow has a peculiar side-effect: it can make your gums and teeth highly sensitive to cold and hot foods, leading to pain when you eat.

Dry mouth

While it may be somewhat unpleasant, saliva plays a crucial role in your oral health, helping to wash away bacteria, neutralise harmful acids and more.

During pregnancy however, it isn’t uncommon for your salivary glands to dry up (pun intended). This can result in all the symptoms associated with dry mouth, which you can read up on here.

 

How a mother’s oral health affects the baby

In the past, we’ve talked about the body-mouth connection.

If you missed it, you can click here to get caught up. In short however, this theory suggests that the mouth is the “gateway” to the rest of your body, where almost everything enters, including:

  • Food
  • Oxygen
  • Drinks

Needless to say, poor oral health and hygiene can taint everything that comes into your body with bacteria and other nasties.

And when these unwanted microbes and germs make their way into your stomach and lungs… well, the rest should be pretty self-explanatory!

This is especially important for pregnant women, as many of the health issues associated with poor oral health can then be passed on to your child, leading to complications further down the line.

Hence, you’ll want to continue with your regular check-ups throughout your pregnancy (as well as before and after!)

Common gum disease

To minimise the risk of oral problems during your pregnancy (and all the associated flow-on effects), it’s best to let an Armadale dentist take a look at your teeth and gums.

In particular, they can help you identify all sorts of common oral health conditions that you’ll need to keep on top of during pregnancy, including:

  • Gingivitis – Proper brushing and flossing can help you prevent plaque build up that leads to gingivitis
  • Dry mouth – Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and eat foods that stimulate saliva production such as gum (sugar-free, of course)
  • Swollen gums – Avoid red and inflamed gums by proper brushing and flossing

 

“Should I see my dentist while I’m pregnant?”

Don’t worry, it’s perfectly safe (and important) to visit your local dentist while you’re pregnant!

Our team of Armadale dentists take great care when performing routine dental check-ups, performing procedures that are perfectly safe for both mums and their children.

That said, we strongly recommend making a visit the moment you decide you want a child in your life!

Many of us are walking around with dental problems such as gingivitis, tooth decay and more. For an optimal pregnancy, it’s crucial that you get these problems sorted out early.

A pregnant woman brushing her teeth in front of the mirror.

How to: take care of your oral health during pregnancy

Keep brushing and flossing

Taking care of your oral health starts with regular brushing of fluoride toothpaste and a soft bristle brush at least twice a day for your teeth and gums.

Forgetting this basic oral care step can lead to the formation of gingivitis and other oral health problems.

Floss areas in your teeth that regular brushing can’t reach.

Eat the right kinds of food

The cravings are strong, we know. But for the sake of your baby, try to resist!

Like we mentioned above, poor oral health may negatively affect your child. We recommend avoiding sweet, starchy, and sugary foods – these are the things bacteria thrives on, often leading to cavities and plaque.

Instead, we recommend upping your intake of tooth-friendly foods, which you can learn more about here.

Increase your calcium intake

In addition to strengthening your teeth (and thereby protecting your baby from dental-related complications), calcium is also crucial to a baby’s development while they’re still in the womb.

In particular, calcium builds strong bones and teeth, and is instrumental in the development of a healthy heart, nerves and muscles.

Schedule regular visit to your dentist

Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you get out of seeing your local dentist!

 

How an Armadale dentist can help you get through pregnancy

Eager to give your child the best possible start in life? If so, you’ll want to start with your oral health.

At Dental Care Group, we like to style ourselves as your family dentist. Our experienced team of oral health professionals assist anyone you can think of, including adults, children, and seniors.

And that also includes expecting mothers.

Let our expert Armadale dentists help – contact us today on (03) 9509 1500 or click here to book your next dental appointment with our friendly and welcoming team!