Mother & Baby

Pregnancy can have an unexpectedly large effect on your dental health. A change in hormones, diet and lifestyle can take their toll on your general and your oral health. Once the baby is born, you also need to consider the dental care of your child, and it is important to seek advice from your dentist so you can provide them with the best dental care possible.

Pregnancy

During pregnancy your hormones can affect your dental health. Increased tooth decay and gum disease are just two side effects that are commonly seen and should be dealt with before they become a permanent problem, potentially leading to tooth loss. Increased levels of progesterone and oestrogen can also affect the bones and gums that support the teeth, leading to loose teeth and bleeding gums.
Is dental treatment safe during pregnancy?
Routine treatment is safe during pregnancy, but the department of health recommends that women avoid having amalgam fillings fitted during this time. Some patients also avoid having x-rays during pregnancy, but government guidelines also state that they are safe when the beam is directed away from the womb.

Post-pregnancy

After the birth of your child it is important that you continue to look after your teeth. However, the dental health and development of your child should now be considered during your daily dental routine. Appearing from around 6 months, your baby’s teeth will continue to grow through until all 20 are baby teeth are present. Also known as the teething stage, this process can be painful and cause a high temperature intermittently throughout. During this time, it is possible to use specialist gel to reduce the pain and discomfort.
When should I take my baby to the dentist?
It is possible to bring your baby to the dentist during your own routine check up, but babies do not need to visit a dentist until their teeth are beginning to grow through.
Breastfeeding and dental health
Research conducted by the World Health Organisation suggests that babies breastfeeding past the start of the teething stage can experience tooth decay due to the natural sugars within breast milk. The alternative, bottled milk, is considered an appropriate alternative provided no sugar is added to the drinks.

Solid food
Your doctor will advise you on the appropriate solid food to feed your baby, but food without sugar will be the best for your child’s dental health. Food and drink containing sugar can cause tooth decay and prevent the appropriate development of enamel in extreme cases. Fluoride supplements could be added to your baby’s diet in order to strengthen enamel and prevent decay, but it is important to seek advice from your dentist beforehand.
When should teeth cleaning begin?
As soon as your baby begins teething you should begin cleaning their teeth. Age-appropriate cleaning tools are often available to ensure that gums are not damage during the cleaning, but a toothbrush will be essential as more teeth grow through. Fluoride toothpaste is also available for young children and should be used to remove bacteria from teeth twice daily.
The effect of thumb-sucking and dummies
It is beneficial for babies if thumb-sucking and dummies are prevented throughout the development of teeth and beyond. Both can lead to the changes in the trajectory of growing teeth, leading to a need for braces at a later date.