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Pregnancy and Oral Health – Everything You Need to Know

by , 20th Mar 2022

Pregnancy is a great joy, but also an obligation, during which caring for your own health also means caring for the health of your baby. Due to insufficient information, fetal health is often compromised by a mass of largely inaccurate information, which pregnant women are showered with from the moment of conception. 

Can a pregnant woman go to a dentist appointment?

In planned pregnancies, the first dentist visit is mandatory before conception, and in unplanned ones, immediately after the confirmation of pregnancy, regardless of whether there are problems with gums and teeth or not.

Better safe than sorry!

During pregnancy, you should go to the dentist every three months, and during the visit, the emphasis is on the treatment and maintenance of healthy gums and teeth, and during each visit, dental plaque is removed in detail, which is very important because dental plaque increases the risk of cavities and inflamed gums.

Is dental treatment safe during pregnancy?  

Yes. Routine interventions are completely safe. Treatment and preventive measures are carried out according to the established guidelines for pregnancy monitoring.

Proper nutrition of the mother includes the intake of the recommended amounts of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins, which are necessary for the proper development of dental tissues.

Is dental work harmful to the fetus?

No. Such an opinion is misleading. There are no bacteria in the baby’s oral cavity after birth. The most common source of infection and transmitter to the child is a mother who has decayed teeth, inflamed gums, and poor oral hygiene. The only way to ensure the health of the baby is to heal and clean the mother’s teeth.

Does pregnancy affect the health of my gums?  

Yes. Due to nausea, vomiting, insomnia, weakness and feelings of chronic fatigue, many pregnant women neglect dental hygiene which leads to gingivitis.

Does diet affect baby’s health? 

Yes. Proper nutrition of the mother includes the intake of the recommended amounts of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins, which are necessary for the proper development of dental tissues. Dental tissues are formed in the sixth week of pregnancy, when the fetus is only a few millimeters in size.

Can vomiting cause damage to my teeth? 

Yes. In early pregnancy, many pregnant women experience nausea and frequent vomiting. To prevent the harmful effects of gastric juice that corrodes enamel, it is recommended that the mouth be rinsed thoroughly with clean water and that brushing your teeth be postponed for two hours after vomiting. It is also not recommended to eat snacks, sweet, carbonated and sour drinks.

Does pregnancy increase tooth decay? 

No. Multiple defects in pregnancy are caused by changed conditions: increased acidity of saliva, frequent consumption of sweets, gingivitis, vomiting, sucking candy, changes in diet and neglect of dental hygiene. There is no truth in the claim about calcium deficiency and the loss of one tooth in every pregnancy. As these are phenomena that can be positively influenced, a pregnant woman is responsible for her own and the baby’s health.

Multiple defects in pregnancy are caused by changed conditions: increased acidity of saliva, frequent consumption of sweets, gingivitis, vomiting, sucking candy, changes in diet and neglect of dental hygiene.

Do pregnant women lose calcium from their own teeth during pregnancy?

No. Such fears are unjustified and a myth. The calcium the baby needs reaches the common bloodstream from the food that the mother ingests. When it is not taken in sufficient quantities, the organism does not take it from the teeth but from the reservoir in the mother’s bones.

Sufficient amounts are generally provided by a diet rich in milk and dairy products throughout pregnancy, or calcium supplements prescribed by a gynecologist.

When and how can one affect the health of a child’s teeth?

Care begins with the repair and thorough hygiene of your own teeth, before or immediately after the confirmation of pregnancy. The first dental visit must be scheduled immediately after the visit to the gynecologist, since the development of the oral cavity begins in the third week after conception, the embryos of deciduous teeth are formed around the sixth week.

How to maintain oral hygiene during pregnancy?  

The method of maintaining oral hygiene is suggested by the dentist, only after the dental examination. Daily routine brushing of teeth is not enough for pregnant women who had gum problems or wear prosthetic replacements before conception, and they are prescribed additional measures.

  • Visit your dentist before planning or immediately after confirmation of pregnancy 
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day: in the morning and before bed 
  • Clean the interdental spaces with interdental brushes and request that the dentist train you in the technique of brushing adapted to the condition of your gums and teeth. 
  • Use soft brushes, maintain them properly and replace them regularly 
  • Control the efficiency of brushing with products for removing dental plaque at home 
  • Avoid or at least limit your snack intake 
  • Dental supervision should be continued during the breastfeeding period

About the author: Ljubica Pavlovic Trifunovic is a pediatric dentist. She joined the authors of the Novak Djokovic Foundation blog with a desire to raise awareness about the importance of children’s dental care. Besides her love for her work, her great passion is traveling. 

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