Mum’s the word

Article written by: Racheale Gray

There is something surreal about the news you are going to become a mother. I’m sure at least five emotions hit you at once: happiness, excitement, surprise, apprehension, and a tinge of nerves. The next 40 weeks of you and your partner’s lives can become a rollercoaster of emotional and physical changes.

Some of our first thoughts are of the changes we may need to make to our lifestyles or homes. But of greater importance are the changes we make to our personal health, ensuring the life we have inside of us gets the best start possible.

We often alter our diets to try and incorporate more nutritious foods and may abstain from some of the poor habits we used to indulge in.

Some females often experience cravings throughout their pregnancy which can affect their health. What can often be overlooked, but is of equal importance, though, is your oral health.

One of the most common cravings is for sugary snacks, which may increase your risk of tooth decay. Try to have low-sugar food or healthier options, such as fruit, if you need to have the sweetness to satisfy your craving. Rinse your mouth with water or chew gum afterwards to stimulate your saliva. If you are going to brush your teeth, wait at least 20 minutes after having a sugary snack.

Along with an altering body shape, increased appetite and swelling of your feet, ankles and fingers, you may notice some other unwelcome changes. Almost half of all pregnant women notice bleeding gums when brushing or flossing. Their gums may even seem inflamed and red or slightly swollen. Why does this happen? The change in hormones in a pregnant woman’s body can cause the gums to become more sensitive to the bacteria in plaque, thus, causing infection and inflammation quicker than usual if not removed, also known as pregnancy gingivitis.

The easiest way to reduce the bleeding or inflammation of gums is to remove the cause. Here are some helpful hints to combat irritated, bleeding gums during pregnancy:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice daily – both morning and evening – to help remove plaque and food debris. We encourage using a small soft-bristle or electric toothbrush, brushing slowly over each tooth and the gum individually for at least two minutes. This can also help with dry-reaching which is very common in pregnancy.
  • Floss your teeth daily to help remove any plaque or food debris.
  • If you suffer from morning sickness and are vomiting, ensure you rinse your mouth out with water as soon as you can. Do not brush straightaway as the acid from your stomach can erode the enamel. A product called ‘Tooth Mousse’ is available exclusively from the dental surgery. This product is fantastic as it helps strengthen and re-mineralise your teeth and reduce any sensitivity you may be experiencing.
  • Seeing a dental professional throughout your pregnancy will help set your mind at ease, knowing your oral health is being looked after. So make an appointment today to see your dental hygienist!