Practising good oral hygiene before, during and after pregnancy is extremely important in order to maintain good overall health.
According to Elaine Tilling, Clinical Education Manager for TePe Oral Hygiene Products UK: Â“It's an excellent time to enhance what you're doing in terms of your oral health as you begin to focus on the health of your baby, which is an added incentive.Â”
You should definitely take up the offer of free dental care (through pregnancy and 12 months after your baby's born) because as a result of varying hormone levels, 40% of pregnant women will develop gingivitis (inflammation and bleeding of the gums, which are more sensitive during pregnancy to the bacteria in plaque). The gums cover an area about the size of the palm of your hand, and - if you stop to think about it - you wouldn't allow an infection that large to develop in any other area of the body. So upping your oral care regime to avoid infection is very important.
A Good oral care routine in pregnancy
Â Gently brushing for 2 minutes with a fluoride toothpaste Â Cleaning interdentally (between the teeth, where your toothbrush can't reach) with either interdental brushes or floss. Choose based on your preference, the advice of a dental professional or depending on the size of the spaces between your teeth (if spaces are very narrow, flossing is the way to go but interdental brushes are a really effective way to clean between teeth if the gaps are wide enough for you to comfortably insert an interdental brush). Try TePe Interdental Brushes (http://www.tepe.com/uk/) which come in 8 different sizes Â– they're recommended by 94% of Dental Hygienists. Â Regular visits to the dentist Â– free dental care is provided during this time so make the most of it! Â Using a fluoridated mouthwash after morning sickness to help prevent enamel erosion
Long-standing gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease which has been linked to the inability to conceive - and although it's not clear how gum disease may trigger problems, infected gums may release inflammatory chemicals, which activate the immune system and inflame the lining of the womb. This could affect implantation of a fertilised egg. Whilst not conclusive, evidence has also suggested that women who do practice a good oral care routine and have healthy gums can conceive up to two months' quicker. Gum disease has even been linked to premature birth and low birth weight and again, whilst not conclusive, a study found that those who had untreated gum disease were three times more likely to give birth before 35 weeks. Whilst there clearly needs to be more research into the links between oral health and reproductive health, the sensible advice would be to ensure your daily oral hygiene routine is effective.