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Protecting your teeth and gums in pregnancy

New Oral-B survey shows 49% of mums-to-be don't realise the importance of oral care during pregnancy

Posted: 21 June 2007
by Monica Stylli

Oral B
Pregnancy and dental care is an issue that we have recently addressed on ThinkBaby and now teeth specialists Oral-B have conducted a survey of pregnant women to find out their views on oral care.

The survey of 3000 pregnant women was hosted on the National Childbirth Trust website and the results show that nearly half (49%) of all people questioned had no idea why oral care is so important at this time. Surprisingly, 61% of mums-to-be rated brushing their teeth properly as one of the least important factors to wellbeing and health during pregnancy.

When you are pregnant your hormone levels are affected and this can cause the gums to become inflamed and bleed (sometimes known as ‘pregnancy gingivitis’) – the Oral-B® survey revealed that over a third (38%) of pregnant women questioned reported this problem but 1 in 3 didn’t know why this was.

Problems with pregnancy gingivitis usually begin in the second or third months of pregnancy, increasing in severity through to the eighth month, easing off in the ninth. If left unchecked, and the bacteria in plaque builds up, more serious periodontal disease can develop, damaging the gums and bone surrounding and supporting teeth.

The Oral-B® survey also showed that the majority of women (62%) changed their toothbrush every three months, which is the recommended period of time to make the switch.

What can I do to protect my teeth and gums in pregnancy?
Brushing your teeth twice a day or even better, after every meal, will help keep plaque at bay. Eating a healthy, nutritionally-balanced diet will also help improve the health of gums. Pregnant women often develop a greater tendency to snack on carbohydrates but the survey showed that the top craving in pregnancy was for something sweet. Extra care is needed because bacteria in plaque can convert sugar and starch into an acid that attacks the tooth enamel and gums.

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