Teeth and oral health during pregnancy

The old wives’ tale that mums will lose a tooth for every baby born is exactly that, an old wives’ tale. With good home care and regular active maintenance appointments no teeth will be lost.

There are however changes in how the teeth and gums respond in pregnant women.

How hormones affect your teeth and oral health during pregnancy

The most direct link between teeth problems and pregnancy is noted with hormonal changes.

Hormonal changes during pregnancy affects your teeth and gum in the following ways:

  1. The body can have an exaggerated response to plaque. This leads most notably to excessive bleeding gums or gingivitis. Whilst this will generally occur only during pregnancy, if we are unable to remove the plaque and tartar, it can lead to periodontitis. Studies show a correlation between untreated periodontitis and pre-term low-birth weight babies.
  2. Food cravings. This can lead to snacking and sugar cravings, which in turn, can lead to increased decay rates.
  3. Morning sickness and reflux. Severe morning sickness and reflux can result in erosion and wearing down of the teeth / tooth decay. This is also a cause of tooth sensitivity. The gag reflex may also be extremely sensitive during this time making brushing teeth difficult. Rinsing your mouth out with water first will help to remove the stomach acids from your teeth as well as removing the bad taste.

Brushing straight after morning sickness and reflux is not recommended. This is because teeth are soft from stomach acids and this can lead to excessive tooth wear. Rinsing your mouth with water (or even better a mouth rinse made from bicarb soda and mouth rinse) after vomiting is recommended.

We recommend the following to help you look after your oral health during pregnancy

  • Brush your teeth twice a day.
  • Floss your teeth once a day.
  • Don’t brush your teeth straight after morning sickness.
  • Regular and routine dental checkups through our active maintenance program.
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