Pregnancy can be an incredibly overwhelming and busy time for mums to be - and when having to juggle what can seem like a million different health priorities, we know a visit to the dentist can be overlooked.
However, in neglecting your dental health at this exciting time, women unknowingly put their teeth and gums at increased risk of permanent tooth damage and gum disease.
New research by the Australian Dental Association (ADA) has uncovered that one in two mums across the country (52%) actively avoid the dentist during pregnancy (53%), despite morning sickness, increased snacking, and sugary cravings being all too common during pregnancy.
Dr Peter Alldritt, Chairman of the ADA Oral Health Committee provides his top tips on how women can look after their dental health during pregnancy.
5 ways pregnant women can protect their dental health:
Visit the dentist regularly
The best way to make sure your teeth and gums are healthy during pregnancy is to visit the dentist regularly, and let them know you are pregnant. Visiting the dentist is safe and recommended during pregnancy, so make sure you consider your dentist as part of the team of health professionals you consult during pregnancy.
Maintain good oral hygiene
Don’t let your good oral hygiene slip when pregnant – make sure you brush your teeth twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste, and floss daily. If you experience sensitive gums, or feel uncomfortable brushing your teeth due to nausea, consult your dentist on how you can ensure you’re protecting your teeth and gums.
Follow a healthy and balanced diet
It’s important both for the health of you and your baby, but also for your dental health to follow a balanced, healthy diet that’s low in junk or high sugar foods and drinks. If you experience sugar cravings, be smart with your snacking and opt for low sugar, healthy food options such as fruit and yoghurt.
If you experience morning sickness, wait at least one hour before brushing
While it’s a natural instinct to brush your teeth immediately following vomiting, if you experience morning sickness, it’s important you wait at least one hour before brushing your teeth. This allows the enamel to strengthen, and avoids damage to the softened tooth surface. Following morning sickness, you can rinse your mouth with water to freshen up until you can brush.
Chew sugarfree gum after eating and drinking
As part of a good oral health care routine, try chewing sugarfree gum after eating and drinking. This helps stimulate saliva flow, while neutralizing acid in your mouth, to add further protection to your teeth and gums.
For more information on how women can protect their dental health, visit www.dentalhealthweek.com.au.
*Australian Women’s Oral Health Survey, March 2016, conducted by Pure Profile commissioned by the Australian Dental Association