Having a baby? Watch out for sensitive teethMarch 10, 2020 11:43 am
Having a baby is an exciting time and there are lots of changes to understand. Your growing baby can impact your health in different ways – not least of all your mouth and teeth. However, with a little knowledge, care and attention, you can ensure a healthy pregnancy for you and for baby.
First, it’s important to understand why any changes take place at all. The truth is, dental problems during pregnancy are all to do with your hormones. During pregnancy, these go into overdrive in order to support you and baby. This leads to increased blood flow, and a change in the way your body can respond to bacteria.
- Sensitive bleeding gums
For your mouth, that means a double whammy. First, the increased blood flow can lead to swollen gums. This means they can feel sore and painful and may bleed more easily particularly when you are brushing.
- Gum disease
Next, the hormone changes mean your mouth might not respond to bacteria as well as it normally does. In usual times, a combination of the action of saliva and regular brushing helps wash away bacteria and neutralise the enamel-harming acid they produce. However, with your body’s defences reduced, bacteria can gain ground, inflaming gums further and even leading to periodontal or gum disease. For this reason, you are also more likely to develop plaque during pregnancy – the sticky and damaging substance produced by bacteria that sticks to teeth, until your dentist cleans it off.
All of these factors can lead to sensitive and painful-feeling teeth, so much so that it can interfere with your normal eating and drinking routines. If this happens, and you’ve already been given the all-clear by your dentist, it can be useful to try and work out ‘trigger foods’ as a toothache remedy during pregnancy. Extreme hot and cold can make you feel worse, and fizzy drinks are a no-no whether you are pregnant or not! The good news is that any feelings of soreness should be temporary. As long as you continue to take good care of your teeth, the feelings should pass along with the hormones surges.
- Morning sickness
If you suffer from the miseries of morning sickness, then the condition of your teeth are probably far from your mind! However, it’s really important to take a few steps to avoid tooth damage. When you have morning sickness, be sure to rinse your mouth well with water in order to neutralise the acid that can soften and dissolve enamel. For this reason, don’t brush your teeth after being sick, as the enamel may be rubbed off. Instead, wait an hour or more to protect your teeth.
- Keeping healthy
Keep your teeth and gums as clean as possible. Brush twice a day, and buy a softer-bristled or an electric toothbrush. Visit the dentist – don’t lose your six-monthly routine. Make sure you tell your dentist you are pregnant, as you may need to avoid certain treatments until you’ve had your baby – for example, removing amalgam fillings. And, listen to what they say. You might be surprised to know that x-rays and local anaesthetics are, in most situations, now safe to perform at certain times of pregnancy.
- Eating and drinking
Avoid sweets and processed foods. It’s very tempting (particularly if you have cravings) but it’s more important than ever to avoid harmful sugar to avoid dental problems during pregnancy. Make sure you get all the vitamins and minerals you need to keep healthy, particularly vitamins A and C found in fruit and vegetables. This will all help you stay in tip-top condition to get through the traumatic times!
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