Dental health before and during pregnancy
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It is very important to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy if you are pregnant or planning to have a baby. This helps protect your baby from developing tooth decay and you from developing gum disease.
- Tooth decay occurs when a hole forms in a tooth. This is called a cavity.
- Gum disease is where you gums become red, swollen and bleed more easily. Your teeth may loosen.
Keeping your mouth healthy while pregnant
The health of your mouth, teeth and gums affects your baby too.
- Visit your dentist to have your teeth and gums checked. Make sure you tell them you’re pregnant. Also tell them if you have another health condition too.
- Avoid or limit sugary, sweet and acidic foods – if you have a craving try to consume with a main meal
- Try to quit smoking if you are a smoker – it can harm you, your baby and your teeth and gums.
Learn important tips for good dental health
Tooth decay and gum disease can affect your pregnancy
When you are pregnant, you may crave sugary food, vomit or have gastric reflux from morning sickness. These can weaken your teeth and cause tooth decay or gum disease. If you have severe gum disease or tooth decay, it may affect your pregnancy and your baby. For example, you may:
- give birth more than three weeks before the due date (pre-mature birth)
- your baby may be underweight when it is born
- get high blood pressure, which can cause a dangerous health condition called pre-eclampsia.
What to do if you feel unwell or have problems with your mouth
If you feel unwell, or experience gum problems (bleeding and tenderness), there are things you can try:
- If you gag, try later in the morning when the gag reflex may not be as strong.
- If you vomit, rinse your mouth with water and wait at least 30 minutes before trying again.
- If you can’t brush, chew sugar-free gum or rub a little fluoride toothpaste onto your teeth with your finger
- Try a smaller toothbrush for your back teeth.
- If your gums are bleeding, it is important to continue gentle brushing.
Keep your baby’s mouth healthy
- Tooth decay and gum disease impact your baby.
- Your baby’s teeth start developing in the first three months of your pregnancy.
- Once your baby is born, decay causing germs may be transferred from mother to child.
How to book a dentist if you are pregnant
- We have clinics available across Tasmania. You can read about our Dental Health Service for Adults or call 1300 011 013 to make an appointment.
- Make sure you let the us know that you are pregnant.
- You can also talk to your midwife, GP, or other health professional, and they may fill out a referral for you if you are eligible to receive priority dental care.