Pregnancy brings many changes to your body including your mouth and teeth. It is important to keep taking care of your teeth during pregnancy.
Old wives tales idea that the “baby can leach the calcium out of your teeth”, but this is just an old wives tale and is not true. However, there are things that may damage your teeth during pregnancy.
Morning sickness, vomiting and reflux
Morning sickness can cause significant damage to teeth through erosion of teeth from stomach acids destroying tooth structure. The pH of stomach acid is between 1.5-3.5 which is extremely acidic (to compare lemon juice is around 2, vinegar around 3 and acid rain is around 4.5). If you get morning sickness, after you vomit rinse your mouth with water and rub some toothpaste onto the back of your teeth with your finger, this will help to neutralise the stomach acid. Whilst it may be tempting to brush immediately after vomiting, it is best to wait thirty minutes before brushing your teeth to help prevent tooth wear while your enamel is softened from acid attack. It may also be helpful to chew sugar free chewing gum or eat some hard cheese to help neutralise the acids.
Hormonal changes can also upset your gingival tissues and may lead to pregnancygingivitis. A sign of this may be swollen or sensitive gums which bleed when you brush you teeth. If you notice this it may be important to speak to your dentist about this to help reduce symptoms and improve your gum health. Gum disease in pregnancy has been linked in studies with premature birth and low birth weight.
We also get a lot of sugary cravings during pregnancy which can have an obvious decay risk for your teeth. Try to limit sugary snacks and choose healthier options to satisfy your sweet tooth such as fresh fruit with greek yogurt.
Helping to keep your gums and teeth healthy during pregnancy will help to keep you and your baby healthy. Remember to brush twice a day, floss daily and use a soft tooth brush with fluoridated toothpaste and visit your dentist!