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Pregnancy and dental health

Just like the rest of your body, your teeth, gums and mouth are affected by hormonal changes during pregnancy. You will usually start notice changes in the health of your gums around after two months. At that point, your gums may bleed easily when you brush or floss, which is a sign of gum disease known as Pregnancy Gingivitis. This is a temporary change during pregnancy but it can seriously weaken the gums and bone that hold your teeth in place and should not be ignored. Unusual food cravings are a fact of life for many women during pregnancy. If your cravings take a turn towards the sweet end of things, try to limit the intake of sugary snacks and instead, choose healthier options such as fresh fruit with natural or Greek yoghurt. Morning sickness can also affect your teeth as the acid in the vomit has an erosive effect on your teeth. Usually there is a tendency to brush your teeth immediately but brushing within an hour of vomiting can cause more damage to your teeth by stripping away the enamel. Instead of brushing, try rinsing your mouth with quarter teaspoon of baking soda mixed into one cup of warm water, chew sugar-free gum or try eating an acid-neutralising food such as milk or hard cheese. You might also be affected by dry mouth, which reduces the amount of saliva you produce, which is problem since it plays a big role in keeping the bacteria that cause tooth decay in control. The effect these hormonal changes have on your oral health during pregnancy means your dentist should join your GP and your obstetrician on your list of health professionals whom you consult regularly. You need to make regular visits to your dentist in the lead-up to, during and after your pregnancy a priority. However the best advice is to keep brushing and flossing as normal. If you experience increased sensitivity or soreness, and are tempted to pull back from your usual oral health routine as a result, see your dentist who can suggest the best way to handle brushing and flossing during these hormonal fluctuations. Source – Australian Dental Association – Dental health week