Pregnancy and Teeth

Pregnancy is a special time to take extra care of your teeth and gums. During pregnancy your hormonal balance is altered and your gums become more susceptible to disease.

There is no truth in the old wive's tale that says a tooth is lost for every pregnancy. Good oral hygiene procedures will ensure that you have healthy teeth and gums during pregnancy.

Oral Health Guidelines

Plaque is essentially made up of bacteria. By using antibacterial products you can help control plaque formation.

Visit your dentist before you become pregnant and during pregnancy to make sure your teeth and gums stay strong and healthy.

If you are pregnant or suspect that you are, it is important to tell your dentist when you visit. Practitioners are careful in prescribing medicines to pregnant women and only advise those which are really needed. Certain medicines such as the tetracycline antibiotics can affect your baby's developing teeth.

If possible dental x-rays should be avoided during pregnancy, however, if your dentist considers it essential for you to have an x-ray, special care and protection will be taken.

Now that you're pregnant

When you are 7-9 months pregnant your baby needs more calcium and phosphorous. These minerals are best obtained by eating more dairy foods.

Milk and milk products are an excellent source of calcium. Choose those that are low in fat and sugar. If you don't drink milk or eat milk products such as cheese and yogurt choose other products that are high in calcium. If you are having difficulty see your doctor or dietitian for advice. They may recommend calcium supplements. The recommended daily intake per day for women is 1,100mg during pregnancy, and 1,200mg while breastfeeding.

Looking ahead

At first your newborn baby does not have decay causing bacteria in their mouth.

As the teeth come through the gum the bacteria that causes decay is passed to the baby by the main carer, usually the mother through kissing, food tasting or by cleaning the dummy in their own mouth.

It is important that carers thoroughly clean their own teeth and have all their own decayed teeth treated so they will have low levels of bacteria. This will reduce or greatly delay the transfer of these bacteria to the baby.

Source: Colgate Oral Care Brochure - Pregnancy and Oral Health

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