Pregnancy and your dental health – You are wise to already be thinking about your and your child’s dental health as his or her teeth have already started forming in their tiny jawbone by the fifth or sixth week after conception. By the time of their birth all twenty primary (baby) teeth are almost completely formed.
Here are some facts that you may want to know:
As an expectant mother, the best thing you can do is to maintain and nurture your own dental and general health to give your child a good start in life.
Eating a balanced diet is advised which includes avoiding starchy and sugary snacks between meals. A healthy and balanced diet will provide you with the calcium, phosphorus and other vitamins and minerals needed for your baby’s teeth and bones. Throughout your pregnancy, your physician will evaluate your specific needs and advise you accordingly.
Does the calcium for the baby’s teeth come from my teeth?
No! The truth is that it comes from your diet. It’s important for us to dispel this common myth that the calcium needed for your baby’s teeth comes from the mother’s teeth. Your child’s teeth and bone development relies on you eating well, balancing your diet and partaking in moderate exercise.
What’s the best way to care for my teeth?
Firstly, eat wholesome, low sugared, health-nurturing foods. To help prevent tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease, brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day. Be sure to clean between your teeth daily with floss or inter-dental brushes. Gingivitis, inflammation of the gums, is especially common during the second through to the eighth month of pregnancy. If you have any concerns about your dental health you can learn how to brush and floss correctly by consulting with your dentist.
What about fluoride?
Women, who have previously taken fluoride supplements during pregnancy, have had the expectation that fluoride will help their children form strong teeth. However prenatal fluoride supplementation remains poorly studied and quite controversial. Fluoride supplements do not aid in the process of enamel formation as studies have shown that it is only known to work topically on fully formed teeth and this is because fluoride changes the chemical bonds in the enamel of the erupted teeth. To date the conclusion is that fluoride supplementation does not have any affect on forming teeth.
Does pregnancy affect my gums?
Gingivitis and inflammation of the gums is especially common during the middle and towards the end of pregnancy. This may cause red, puffy or tender gums that can bleed when brushed. This sensitivity is an exaggerated response to an increased level of the hormone progesterone in your system, which is normal during pregnancy. Occasionally, overgrowths of gum tissue may appear on the gums during the second trimester. These localized growths or swellings are usually found between the teeth and are related to excess plaque.
It’s especially important to maintain a high level of oral hygiene during pregnancy as studies have suggested that pregnant women who have severe periodontal (gum) disease may be at a higher risk for preterm birth and low birth weight. But don’t just start or stop there, make sure that your dental health is tip top before you conceive as well as post birth too.
If you notice any changes in your mouth during your pregnancy, please consult your dentist.
Call Hobart holistic dentist Dr. Dirk Jacobsen at the Dental Pod for your next dental appointment – 6234 5114
Because it’s time to think differently about your dental health.