Pregnant or Just Given Birth?
Dental Tips You Need to Know
By: Dr Yasmin Omran
Dubai Sky Clinic
When you walk into a dentist’s office, the last thing you expect is to see a baby bump. That’s where you see me, a pregnant dentist. Having spent the past two decades as a doctor of dental surgery, including 12 years in clinical practice and earning a Master’s degree in Lasers in Dentistry from Germany and a European Masters in Oral Laser applications, it seemed like second nature to me to take my baby bump to work.
If you’re planning a family, your body and baby will thank you for setting up (and cleaning up) the baby house a.k.a. your body. Visiting your dentist before conceiving is very important to get your oral health on track.
Then there it comes, a big fat plus sign. Whether your pregnancy was planned or came as a big surprise, there is no doubt that it can be one of the most joyous times of a woman’s life. It can also be a challenging time, dealing with all the changes your body is going through.
One of the first things you should consider when you find out you’re pregnant is to visit your dentist. The combination of a change in hormonal balance and development of a sweet tooth can have adverse effects on the gums and teeth. It’s quite common for your gums to get inflamed during pregnancy and this inflammation progresses quite rapidly if not treated. Signs of gum inflammation can range from puffiness to bleeding and soreness in the gums.
A great place to start is to eat a balanced diet rich in proteins, calcium and vitamins, steering away from simple carbohydrates. This will bring all sorts of benefits for you and your baby and will contribute to your overall well-being. It’s also important for your baby’s teeth buds which begin developing at around 8 weeks of gestation. So, get started early on with good nutrition and oral hygiene to help develop those tiny pearly whites.
I always guide my patients over what treatments need urgent attention to avoid further complications and which ones can wait until after delivery. It’s important to always let your dentist know that you’re expecting, so that they can take all the necessary precautions to protect you and your baby. The best time to get any dental treatment done is the second trimester, but your dentist should be able to carry out necessary treatments safely in the first and third trimesters as well.
If you’re suffering from morning sickness, avoid the temptation to brush immediately after being sick, as the acid from your stomach can cause tooth erosion which will worsen with brushing. Opt for a drink of water instead and return to brushing your teeth around an hour later. Morning sickness is common and the acid can be very damaging to the surface of your teeth. If you experience morning sickness, make sure you rinse your teeth with mouthwash. Opt for a minty flavour that will refresh rather than add to the nausea.
There is an old wives’ tale that says “a woman loses one tooth for every child she delivers”. While we don’t have any hard data on this, there are three factors during pregnancy which may increase cavities: a boost in female sex hormones, a reduction in the flow rate of saliva and its antimicrobial properties and an increase in cravings for high-energy, sweet foods.
Such changes in hormonal and saliva secretions coupled with an increase in the consumption of sweet foods can explain why some women feel like they get more cavities pre or post-pregnancy. The best way to avoid this, just to be on the safe side, is to continue to brush properly and avoid eating all the sugary foods you’ve always known to be bad for your teeth.
With my practice being focused on laser dentistry, gum and aesthetic treatments, I treat many pregnant women on a daily basis. Laser dentistry is an excellent tool for treating gum disease at lightning speed in comparison with conventional treatment. It’s extremely beneficial in reducing healing time and is a generally painless procedure. Therefore, it is ideal to control gum disease before conceiving and get back to good oral health after delivery.
It is common for anxiety and stress to be amplified during pregnancy, but staying calm and relaxed is beneficial for you and your little one. I encourage my pregnant patients to listen to relaxing music during treatments and we even practice some breathing exercises together to make treatments as pleasant as can be.
Finally, enjoy your pregnancy. The emotional and physical rollercoaster may be hard to deal with, but remember that you are cocooning your beautiful baby, so cherish every moment!