Whether you’re trying for a baby or are already pregnant, one thing’s for sure mamas – staying healthy is going to be a top priority. But did you know that looking after your teeth is as important as all of the other health checks you’ll be bombarded with? We had a chat with our friends at Dr Michael’s Dental Clinics who explained to us why keeping your pearly whites in check and following a regular dental routine when having a baby is an absolute must. This is what we learned mamas…
In terms of dentistry, what checklist should we go through before getting pregnant?
Regular dental checkups are important for everyone, even more so for women who are planning on getting pregnant. Inform your dentist about it so he or she is able to prioritise any dental work and x-rays you need done before you conceive.
We’ve read that when you are pregnant you are more prone to dental problems. Why is this?
Pregnant women can experience hormonal changes that can cause an inflammation of the gums. This condition, called “pregnancy gingivitis”, triggers gum swelling and tenderness which can lead to more severe gum disease if left untreated. This is why religious oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) and routine professional cleanings are important.
Why do gums bleed more during pregnancy and is this a problem?
Gums bleed more easily when brushing or flossing because of an increased inflammatory response to plaque during pregnancy. This could lead to gum disease if not addressed. Your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings to prevent this.
What sort of dental problems could a pregnant woman encounter?
Aside from pregnancy gingivitis (as mentioned above), pregnant women can also develop lumps, which appear along the gum line and between teeth. These are called “pregnancy tumors”, but they are actually harmless and noncancerous. They look red and bleed easily. They usually go away on their own after pregnancy.
Is it true that premature births can be triggered by periodontal disease (one of the more severe conditions) and how do we avoid this?
Although more research is needed to confirm how periodontal or gum disease affect pregnancy outcomes, there are significant clinical studies that support correlation between periodontal disease and premature births. The American Academy of Periodontology recommends that women considering pregnancy have a periodontal evaluation.
What are the ways of preventing teeth and gum problems during pregnancy?
Efficient daily oral care is the key. To prevent gingivitis or gum disease, brush your teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and floss once daily. Pregnant women often feel hunger pangs in between meals. When you need a snack, opt for nutritious food (such as raw fruits and vegetables, dairy products) for you and your baby. Maintain proper diet and see your dentist and hygienist every six months. And of course for overall health, we always tell everyone to stop smoking and drinking alcohol (if they do).
Some dentists say that increased calcium helps protect our teeth and bones during pregnancy. Should we take extra supplements, or is our pregnancy multi vitamin enough?
Pregnancy supplements are prescribed to cover all the calcium needs of pregnant women. If you have specific concerns, we advise you to consult your doctor or dentist right away.
What tips can you offer pregnant woman to ensure they encounter minimum problems during their 40-week journey?
Proper oral hygiene, balanced nutrition and regular dental checkups are the best ways to keep your teeth and gums in good condition all throughout pregnancy. If you notice any changes in your mouth, teeth and gums, inform your dental provider right away.
Is there any way to ensure our growing bub will get a good set of pearly whites, for example by drinking more milk?
You need to maintain a healthy diet, drink plenty of milk and eat calcium-rich food like cheese and spinach to that your baby’s teeth can develop.
Is it safe to have teeth cleaned during pregnancy?
Yes. Teeth cleaning and other routine dental checkups are safe during pregnancy.
Are there any dental procedures to avoid throughout pregnancy?
In general, we try to avoid dental procedures that require strong medications especially within the first three months of pregnancy. We also try to avoid getting dental x-rays taken throughout pregnancy.
Lastly, we’ve all heard the old wives tale that women should expect to lose a tooth with every pregnancy. Is there any truth to it?
Losing calcium from teeth and therefore losing a tooth as a consequence during pregnancy is a myth. Babies get calcium from the food that you eat and not your teeth. Even if you do run short of calcium, your body draws on calcium reserves in the bones and not the teeth. Pregnancy does put women at greater risk of gum disease because of hormonal changes, but with proper care, diet and dental checkups, everyone (pregnant or not) can keep their teeth for life.
So mamas, if you are expecting or even thinking of conceiving a baby, get your appointment booked at Dr Michael’s Dental Clinic, by calling 04 394 9433 for a check up and remember to stick to those daily oral hygiene routines, as well as maintaining a healthy and balanced diet.
Dr Michael’s Dental Clinics, Villa 1016 Al Wasl Road, Umm Suqeim 1
Dr Michael’s Dental Clinics, Villa 418, Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah 2