Dental Health Week 2016 – Pregnancy

Kimmy

Meet Kim.

If you know Withers Dental, you will know Kim. Having been part of the team for almost 10 years, Kim is integral in the coordination of our dental treatments and orthodontic division.

Among her many work titles of lab queen, front office coordinator and nursing know-it-all, she is also affectionately known to us as the best brownie baker, the calm in our storm and now…. Our dreadlock mumma bear.

We talk to Kim about dental health during her pregnancy and some of the changes she has noticed.

Kim, during the first trimester, your body is coping with some big changes….

“Yes, initially… morning sickness ……Being in the industry I know that acid in vomit has an erosive effect on the enamel of teeth. While it was tempting to brush straight away to get rid of the awful taste I would always wait an hour so I didn’t cause further erosive damage. I rinsed with water and chewed sugar-free gum, but I have also read that rinsing with ¼ teaspoon of baking soda mixed in 1 cup of water or eating hard cheese and drinking milk helps to neutralise the overexposure of acid.”

Did you crave any strange foods?

“I’m lucky that my cravings haven’t been for sweet things, as the constant sugar hit from snacking all day long can be really damaging to teeth. Instead I am trying to keep to savory foods, (Vegemite on dry rice crackers has been my go to snack) and always rinse my mouth with water or chew gum after eating if I’m not able to brush.”

Have you noticed any changes to your gums?

“Yes, my gums have been bleeding more easily while I brush and floss my teeth. Although this ‘pregnancy gingivitis’ is usually temporary, it definitely should not be ignored. I’ve made sure my active maintenance appointments have been scheduled regularly to keep on top of any changes during this time. One thing I haven’t yet experienced but keeping an eye out for is ‘pregnancy tumours’ (officially pyogenic granulomas). While they are quite harmless and usually go away after having the baby, they can appear as nasty red lumpy lesions along the gumline between the teeth.

Dry Mouth (Xerostomia) has been known to effect pregnant woman. Is this something you have come across?

Luckily, no….but I am aware of the problems this can cause. Saliva plays such a big role in protecting the teeth from the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Staying hydrated is so important but if it is a particularly bad case of dry mouth, our Oral Hygiene Therapist’s will recommend gels or mouth rinses to help with this.

Any further advice for our mum’s during pregnancy?

“There are so many changes to our bodies throughout pregnancy it can be really hard to keep up with them all. Ensuring I have had regular visits in the lead-up to pregnancy, throughout and again after I have my baby will ensure my dental health isn’t compromised during this time of hormonal changes. As a first time mum there are so many things to learn, so including my dentist with the list of health professionals I consult regularly allows me to understand what is happening to my body and enjoy my pregnancy along the way”.

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