'Gain a child, lose a tooth.' Is there any truth to this old wives tale?
While a woman's dental needs (along with pretty much everything else) change when she becomes pregnant, there is no reason to worry straight away. The right information and proper care can help make sure mum keeps all her teeth.
Here's what pregnant women need to know about dental health.
Women are less likely to experience pregnancy gingivitis if they have good oral health before falling pregnant.
1. Pregnant women have a higher risk of gum disease
Pregnancy means hormonal changes in a woman's body which can lead to a higher risk of gum disease.
Pregnancy gingivitis is commonly experienced in the second or third month of a pregnancy, continuing until the ninth month, according to the New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA). Women might notice more swelling, bleeding and redness than normal, caused by spiked levels of progesterone. If left untreated, this gingivitis can damage gums and bone.
Women are less likely to experience problems with this if they have good oral health before falling pregnant. For this reason, it is a good idea to get a dental check up before you start trying for a baby.
During pregnancy, the NZDA recommends professional cleaning to help keep away any plaque or other irritants that could trigger pregnancy gingivitis. A good oral care routine at home is also important, so don't skip brushing and flossing.
2. Pregnancy tumours
Occasionally, inflamed gums can lead to a large lump forming on pregnant women's gums. These growths are most common in the third month, the NZDA reports. Although they sound slightly ominous, these lumps aren't cancerous and are generally painless, although they can make eating uncomfortable.
These lumps usually disappear after giving birth, but it is still a good idea to have a dental check up after having your baby to make sure there are no ongoing problems.
You can receive routine dental care throughout your pregnancy. If you notice tender, swollen, or bleeding gums, you should see your dentist as soon as possible. Be sure to let them know if you are taking any medications or if your doctor has given you any specific advice.
At City Dentists we will be happy to look after you during your pregnancy – make an appointment or pop in to see us if you have any questions or concerns.