Keeping your gnashers and gums healthy during your nine months is crucial. Here’s why, and how to look after those pearly whites…
Changes in hormones during pregnancy can cause your gums to soften, leaving them prone to inflammation and infection, known as gingivitis. Experts also suspect a link between bacteria in the mouth and miscarriage. Just this year gingivitis was blamed for a stillborn birth after doctors found the same oral bacteria from the mum’s mouth in the baby’s bloodstream. “During pregnancy you tend to eat different foods, often munching odd items and strange combinations due to morning sickness and cravings,” explains Janet Clarke from the British Dental Association (www.bda.org). “Snacking on lots of sweet things can also cause problems as you’re adding more sugar to your diet, increasing your risk of gum disease and tooth decay.” See your dentist“Make an appointment with your dentist to discuss your oral health as soon as you find out you’re pregnant,” suggests Janet. “They’ll be able to advise you on the best way to look after your teeth and gums during pregnancy, and give you any recommended treatments for problems you’re having.” Don’t worry about the costDental treatment is free on the NHS during your pregnancy and for the first year after the birth. Just show your exemption certificate, which is issued by your midwife when your pregnancy is confirmed. Brush twice a day“Concentrate a bit more on your general dental care, and make sure you brush twice a day,” says Janet. “If you suffer from bleeding gums, many people think they should stop brushing but this isn’t the case. Brush more and make an appointment to see your dentist about it.” It’s also worth being more aware of what you’re eating and what sets things off in your mouth. If you’re craving sweet things, try to moderate your consumption of sugar and sweet foods.“I had bad cravings for chocolate in my first trimester and suffered toothache and light bleeding gums. My dentist was really helpful and suggested some alternative snacks to try that were lower in sugar. I also found brushing more and using a mouthwash helped clear it up after a couple of weeks,” said Ashley Moore, 31, from Kent, 34 weeks pregnant Use a fluoride toothpasteToothpaste with fluoride is an effective way to help prevent tooth decay. “Mouthwash can be a good extra to brushing to help your mouth feel and taste nice, as well as helping to destroy bacteria, but don’t let it replace your brushing,” warns Janet. “Think about the time of day you’re brushing, too. If toothpaste or mouthwash sets off your morning sickness, then doing it later in the day is fine.”3 of the best teeth treatsAn electric toothbrush really is a worthwhile investment right now.Philips Sonicare Healthy White HX6711, from Boots, £102.08.
Reduce plaque, get rid of oral bacteria and keep your gums in tip-top condition with this breath-freshening mouthwash. Listerine Total Care, from Sainsbury’s, £2.00.
The fluoride in this minty-fresh paste will help your teeth and gums cope with those hormones. Oral – B Pro-Expert Enamel Shield, from Boots, £1.99
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