Lose a tooth for every pregnancy!

This might have been a truism in grandma's day, but in our day and age you don't have to fall for that one!

....but there are some precautions and things to be aware of.


Pregnancy is an exciting time for an expectant mother.  Dental considerations are important during this time of great upheaval to your body.

If you are pregnant, or even think you might be, it is important to tell the dentist, as it may influence the treatment you have.  Many dental procedures can be postponed until after the birth.  The safest time for any dental intervention is during the second trimester – from months four to six of the pregnancy.   However, X-rays will usually not be used on any pregnant woman, unless it is a real emergency.

Some specific issues are worth addressing during pregnancy.

Bleeding Gums

Hormonal changes can lead to bleeding gums.  Gums will sometimes become puffed up and red and swollen.  These gums can become very tender, and so the tendency is to avoid brushing them because they bleed easily.  This condition is often because plaque has built up in the little gap between the tooth and the gum.  Deposits of plaque will irritate the gums – resulting in redness, swelling and bleeding.  When gums are not kept really clean, more severe gum troubles can result.

This can include gingivitis (infection in the gums) or periodontal disease (a more severe form of bacterial infection of the gums.)  Any condition like this in the gums needs to be treated, as research shows links between gum disease and premature birth or low birth weight.

Morning sickness

Vomiting, or morning sickness, will result in acid attacks on the enamel of the teeth.  This makes the enamel ‘soft’, and vulnerable to damage from bacteria or even a toothbrush!  For women who suffer from morning sickness, the best plan is to drink water or rinse out with a fluoride mouthwash after vomiting.  Some women like to smear fluoride toothpaste on their teeth and gums after a bout of morning sickness. This is quite beneficial, and gives the mouth a fresh feel.  That's an important consideration when you are wondering what you have got yourself into!

Choking on the toothbrush

Choking or gagging on the toothbrush is a fairly common occurrence during pregnancy.  Tooth brushing needs to be done regularly during pregnancy, and so patience is required when the tongue is so sensitive. Careful, slow, methodical brushing, concentrating on breathing patterns, will help reduce the gag reflex.  Using a toothbrush with a smaller head, or an electric brush, will diminish or even eliminate this uncomfortable reflex.

Nutrition and Cravings

Care needs to be taken with the foods snacked on during pregnancy,  Many carbohydrate and sugary foods will reduce the ph level in the mouth and make the teeth more vulnerable to acid attack by these acids.  Soft drinks or sports drinks, and even fruit juice can cause irreversible damage to the teeth.