Pregnant and Nursing Mothers

Leaflet: You and your baby’s teeth during pregnancy (pdf)

pregnant-motherPregnant mothers can experience an increase in dental problems. Because the hormones are similar to the bacterial toxins, the gums can be attacked by the body’s defence mechanism and the gums may bleed more easily. This means that you must keep a high standard of oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly. This may include appointments with the dental hygienist for thorough cleaning, and advice on caring for your teeth at home. (see section on toothbrushing and flossing)

There should be no problem with routine treatment when pregnant. However the Department of Health has recommended that amalgam fillings be left until the baby is born. Similarly x-rays, unless necessary, should be delayed. However there are times when the need for an x-ray is justified, such as root treatment, where the risks of not taking it outweigh the risks of having one.

Smoking and drinking in pregnancy can lead to an underweight baby. An underweight baby has a greater risk of having teeth where the enamel does not form properly. It is worth remembering that the permanent teeth are developing in the jaws below the baby teeth at birth. In babies whose mothers smoke and drink in pregnancy there is a chance that the permanent adult teeth will be malformed also.

A healthy, balanced diet containing all the necessary vitamins and minerals is vital at all times, but especially when a woman is pregnant. Good nutrition from the mother is important for the baby’s teeth to develop. Calcium in particular is important to produce strong bones and healthy teeth. This can be found in milk, cheese and other dairy products. Women who suffer from morning sickness may feel like eating ‘little and often’. There is an increased risk of dental decay (caries) with this.  If you are frequently sick, rinse your mouth afterwards with plain water to prevent the acid in your vomit attacking your teeth. Try to avoid sugary and acidic snacks and drinks between meals to protect your teeth against decay.

Leaflet: You and your baby’s teeth during pregnancy (pdf)

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