The health of your teeth and gums are especially important during pregnancy. Here’s some expert advice for home care.

Pregnancy hormones, morning sickness and food cravings can affect your oral health. This can have a flow-on effect on your unborn child. That’s why pregnancy is a time to focus on oral care.

Preventing gum disease

Up to 70% of pregnant women suffer from gingivitis, due to hormonal changes, according to the University of Adelaide Dental Practice Education Research Unit (887KB PDF) findings. This is a condition where the gums become red and swollen, and can bleed when brushing the teeth.

If gingivitis is not treated it can lead to periodontitis. This is a more serious gum disease that has negative effects on you and your baby’s health.

Acidity and decay:

  • Morning sickness can increase the acidity in your mouth. Rinse with water after vomiting, but wait 30 minutes before brushing your teeth
  • Avoid sweet and sticky foods that increase the risk of decay.

Between the 3rd and 6th month of your pregnancy is the optimum time for dental treatment. Always tell your dentist you’re expecting, since some treatments should be avoided, the Australian Dental Association (45KB PDF) advises.

Oral care checklist:

  • Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Using an electric toothbrush can help remove plaque and improve gum health
  • If you smoke, quit.

Visit your dentist for advice on yours and your baby’s teeth.