Pregnancy dental myths

During your pregnancy as well as for sometime after, you may notice changes in the health of your gums and teeth.

However, the myths surrounding pregnancy and the adverse effects having a baby can have on the state of your dental health, are more numerous than you'd think.

But, it is important to take more notice of your dental health and book more frequent visits with a dentist, as your body enters formally unchartered territories which can include -morning sickness, anaemia or overwhelming fatigue which leaves you close to forgetting anything from the location of the bathroom let alone remembering if you flossed or not!

Even after pregnancy, the fatigue of looking after a young family may get in the way of a perfect dental routine. If you are anything like me, there will be evenings when you pass-out on the sofa or make it to 10pm and think seriously about skipping any activities which come between you and the nearest mattress.

According to Dr Andrew Prideaux, a Sydney dentist and orthodonist who has treated families for over 20 years, there are changes during and after pregnancy - but these can be managed, to keep the health of your teeth and gums in top condition. Some to watch for may include…

Bleeding Gums...

Hormonal changes in pregnancy can lead to an exaggerated response to the bacteria and plaque in teeth. This causes gingivitis and bleeding is often experienced in pregnant women. In a percentage of women this problem can continue on to gum disease and tooth loss unless professional care is taken. *Recent studies have also shown a relationship between periodontal (gum) disease and lower birth weight of children.

Tooth decay and wisdom teeth

Most decay is brought about not as a result of your growing baby - but because of diet changes - midnight snacks, chocolate and other cravings. Morning sickness with resulting vomiting increase acid attacks on teeth together with reduced hygene - because you feel tired and nauseous!

Is it safe to have dental treatment during pregnancy?

Yes - Also regular hygiene and check-up visits should be booked during pregnancy and after giving birth at 4-6 months intervals.
Regular treatment such as fillings, minor cosmetic bonding and orthodontic treatment are quite safe during pregnancy, as is a local anaesthetic. However more complex or elective treatments should usually be postponed until after birth or performed in the middle trimester of pregnancy."

What about X-rays?

Yes - it is safe to have dental Xrays, but unless absoloutely necessary we usually wait until after the pregnancy.
•    In Summary
•    Visit your dentist regularly for preventative care
•    Wait on cosmetic and elective work during pregnancy.
•    The importance of a healthy diet and good cleaning to prevent gum problems and decay are paramount.

Andrew Prideau:  Andrew owns and runs a dental practice in Mosman, Sydney with an emphasis on comprehensive and cosmetic treatment based also on latest preventative techniques.

He graduated in 1980, University Western Australia with BDSc (Honours) After 3 years working in a cosmetic dental practice in Harley St, London UK, Andrew settling in Sydney.

He is a member of many dental study groups and associations including The Internationally Recognised Pierre Fauchard Society. Andrew operates his family practice backed by a team of dentists, hygienists and highly trained auxiliaries.