Five Tips for Looking After your Teeth When You’re Pregnant

17 February 2023

When it comes to looking after your health during pregnancy, your teeth may not be the first aspect that comes to mind. Did you know however that gum disease is estimated to affect 40% of pregnant women and has a known correlation to premature births and low baby weights? We’ve covered the top five tips you need to know to ensure your pregnancy goes as smoothly as possible when it comes to your teeth.

1.  Go for a check up

Pregnancy has its complications, and it is quite common to worry about gum disease or imagine any number of other scenarios. You may find that your gums have become red or more easily irritated and inflamed. This can be a result of hormonal changes and/or an exaggerated response to plaque that builds up whilst pregnant. Booking a visit to your dentist can help alleviate any potential worries and identify any issues as they start. You may also wish to discuss delaying any dental treatment including new or replacement dental fittings until after the first trimester or when the baby has been born. X-Rays should be avoided whilst pregnant but if your dentist recommends that you have one an X-ray can always be conducted by protecting the abdomen. Teeth whitening is also not advised during pregnancy.

2.  Consider if you need to make changes to your oral hygiene routine

Overall, there are not many changes that you need to make during pregnancy, and you should continue to:

  • Brush your teeth using a fluoride toothpaste twice a day
  • Floss daily to ensure that any food debris between teeth has been removed
  • Regularly drink water after eating or having snacks
  • Lead a nutritious diet including crunchy vegetables

However, there may be changes that you wish to make. Morning sickness can have a profoundly negative effect on your teeth as this and gastric reflux can wear away your enamel due to its acidic nature. Consequently we would also recommend the following if you suffer from bad morning sickness:

  • Choosing a mouthwash that does not contain alcohol
  • You may also wish to consider getting a child sized toothbrush as many pregnant women gag when brushing
  • Postponing brushing your teeth until 30 minutes after morning sickness has subsided or slightly later on a morning, to give your enamel a chance to recover from the shock produced by the acid attack
  • Rinse your mouth with water after morning sickness and smear fluoride toothpaste to refresh your mouth and restore the enamel
  • Brushing with water, then smearing a fluoride toothpaste over your teeth

3.  Drink more tap water

Because of the amounts of fluoride found in tap water, even though Yorkshire Water don’t put fluoride into our water, drinking more of this during pregnancy will not only be refreshing but help to strengthen your teeth and prevent tooth decay. Tap water will not harm a developing baby.

4.  Eat healthier

Whilst you are probably already watching what you consume or indulging in your cravings, there are several types of food you can eat to benefit your baby and your teeth. If you must indulge in more sweeter cravings, try to opt for snacks low in sugar, fats or salt. A diet containing raw fruits and vegetables, foods containing fibre or dairy such as yoghurts and cheese can help to calm the acidity in your stomach as well as fortify your teeth’s enamel. If you can, try to include 2 types of calcium rich food or drinks such as two glasses of milk per day. As we would always promote a healthy oral hygiene routine, try to avoid sugary drinks too.

5.  Quit smoking

Whilst this may seem the most obvious, gum disease is the most prevalent for pregnant women who smoke. Pregnancy can also trigger more benign gum lesions, wobbly teeth, tooth erosion and decay of which the tar from smoking can further destabilise your teeth or lead to infections such as Periodontitis. If you need any assistance in quitting smoking you can find your local smoking cessation service here.

We hope these tips lead to a seemingly smooth pregnancy for you, if only for your teeth at least! If you have any concerns about your teeth whilst being pregnant and you live in our area of Pateley Bridge, Nidderdale we are here to help. Book an appointment with us today or contact us on 01423 712799.