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Pregnancy and oral health: 5 considerations for expecting mums

Pregnancy is an exciting time of life when new mothers are encouraged to take care of themselves.  Whilst dental health is often overlooked at this important time, we’re here to walk you through how taking care of your teeth and gums during pregnancy can give you a healthy smile, that’s not just for you, but for your little one too.

Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that can have some unexpected effects on your mouth. Understanding the unique oral health challenges that arise during pregnancy is key to maintaining a radiant smile and ensuring the well-being of both mum and bub.

The effects of pregnancy on your oral health:

  1. Gingivitis and Pregnancy Gingivitis: Hormonal changes can make gums more susceptible to inflammation, causing pregnancy gingivitis. Proper oral hygiene is key to preventing this condition.
  2. Morning Sickness and Tooth Erosion: Frequent vomiting due to morning sickness exposes teeth to stomach acids, potentially leading to the erosion of your tooth enamel. Try using a fluoride mouthwash after vomiting to help neutralise the acid or rinse with water to help minimise damage.
  3. Increased Blood Flow: Enhanced blood circulation during pregnancy can cause gums to become swollen, sensitive, and prone to bleeding. Regular flossing and gentle brushing are essential.
  4. Pregnancy Tumors: Some pregnant women develop non-cancerous overgrowths of gum tissue called pregnancy tumors. While typically harmless, they often disappear after the baby is born. If you experience unexpected swelling, you should visit your Pacific Smiles Dentist.
  5. Cravings and Oral Hygiene: Pregnancy cravings might lean towards sugary or acidic foods. Maintaining diligent oral hygiene by continuing to brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush, and floss once a day will help to prevent cavities.

 

Ways you can nurture your smile while pregnant:

Regular Dental Check-ups: Prioritise dental appointments during pregnancy to monitor oral health changes and address any emerging issues promptly.

Safe Dental Procedures: Many routine dental treatments are safe during pregnancy. Communicate your pregnancy status to your dentist for tailored recommendations.

Oral Hygiene: Brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing daily remain essential practices. Opt for a soft-bristle toothbrush to avoid gum irritation.

Balanced Diet: Nourish yourself and your baby with a balanced diet rich in nutrients. Incorporate dairy products for calcium and leafy greens for folic acid.

Stay Hydrated: Drinking water helps maintain a moist oral environment, counteracting dry mouth and promoting saliva production.

By continuing proper oral care practices and seeking professional care, expecting mums-to-be can make sure their smiles stay as bright as their journey into motherhood. Your trusted Pacific Smiles Dentist is here for you, offering personalised guidance and expert care every step of the way. Book your next check-up today!

Managing Perimenopause and Menopause symptoms: How your Dentist can provide relief

Perimenopause and Menopause signal a significant change in a woman’s life that can affect not only her body but her mouth, teeth and gums. These transitional phases in a woman’s life, are characterised by fluctuating hormone levels which can give rise to a range of oral health challenges such as dry mouth, sensitive teeth, painful gums, and altered taste are just some of the symptoms. Estrogen, an essential hormone in maintaining oral health, decreases during these periods, leading to potential problems such as:

  1. Dry Mouth (Xerostomia): Hormonal imbalances can lead to reduced saliva production, resulting in dry mouth. Saliva plays a crucial role in neutralising acids and protecting against cavities.
  2. Inflamed Gums: Hormonal fluctuations can make your gums more sensitive, prone to inflammation, and susceptible to bleeding. This is often referred to as menopausal gingivostomatitis.
  3. Altered Taste: Some women may experience a burning sensation or altered taste perception due to hormonal changes.
  4. Bite Changes: Lower estrogen levels can contribute to bone resorption in the jaw, potentially leading to a change in the bite alignment.
  5. Bone Density and Tooth Loss: Decreased estrogen levels can affect bone density, including the jawbone that supports the teeth. This can increase the risk of tooth mobility and even tooth loss.

 

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you don’t need to suffer, book an appointment with your dentist to discuss the options to manage your symptoms, you don’t need to go it alone. Being proactive about your oral health during this period can also help:

Regular Dental Check-ups: During perimenopause and menopause, regular dental visits become even more vital. A professional check-up and clean can detect issues early and prevent any serious long-term issues.

Oral Hygiene: A consistent oral hygiene routine is essential. Brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and using floss or interdental brushes can help maintain oral health.

Saliva Stimulation: Staying hydrated and chewing sugar-free gum can stimulate saliva production, alleviating dry mouth symptoms.

Diet and Nutrition: A balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D supports bone health and overall oral well-being.

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): For women undergoing HRT, it’s important to discuss potential oral health implications with dental professionals.

The most important thing to remember is you don’t need to suffer from these symptoms. Women’s Health Week is a reminder to take care of yourself and become more proactive about your oral health. Speak to your dentist about how you can alleviate some of your symptoms. Book an appointment today.

Dental Health Week 2023: Read about how the mind, body and mouth are all connected.

 

This year Dental Health week takes place from August 7-13, focusing on the mouth and whole-body connection.

The health of our mouth influences the rest of the body with a range of medical conditions affected by or affecting oral health. Bacteria in the mouth can travel to different sites of the body and inflammation in the mouth can increase the body’s overall inflammation. This Dental Health Week, six conditions have been explored in how they link with the mouth:

  1. Heart Disease- There is strong evidence linking severe gum disease and heart diseases due to bacteria traveling from the mouth to the heart and an overall increase in inflammation.
  2. Diabetes- There is a two-way relationship between gum disease and diabetes. Diabetes can increase an individual’s risk of developing severe gum disease, just as gum disease may negatively affect blood sugar levels.
  3. Alzheimer’s Disease- There are early links suggesting that severe gum disease (Periodontitis) may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline due to bacteria traveling from the mouth to the brain and an overall increase in inflammation.
  4. Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes- There is early evidence that associations between severe gum disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes have been thought to occur due to an overall increase in inflammation and bacteria traveling from the mouth to the placenta.
  5. Lung Conditions- There is early evidence supporting the association between periodontitis and some common lung conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and COVID-19 due to inhalation of oral bacteria into the lungs and total increase of inflammation.
  6. Inflammatory Bowel Disease – There is early evidence indicating a link between severe gum disease and inflammatory bowel diseases. Some studies have shown mouth bacteria in the gut.

If you’re concerned about your oral health’s connection to any of the above conditions, learn more from the Australian Dental Association (ADA) or book an appointment with your dentist to determine if your oral health could be affecting the rest of your body.

 

What you can do for your oral health

Prioritising good oral hygiene helps to improve not only the health of the mouth but reduces the effects that disease’s within the mouth may have on other chronic conditions. Luckily there are just 4 simple steps that you can take to care for your mind body and mouth.

  1. Brush your teeth twice a day using fluoride toothpaste. Don’t forget to replace your toothbrush every 3 months, or after you’ve been unwell.
  2. Clean between your teeth every day using floss or interdental brushes.
  3. Eat a healthy balanced diet, limiting added sugar intake and drinking plenty of water. Don’t forget to check with your local council to see if your tap water is fluoridated as this will help to protect your teeth.
  4. Visit the dentist regularly for check-ups and preventative care. We recommend visiting your dentist every 6 months for a general check-up. Your dentist will check for tooth decay, gum disease and check for any signs of oral cancer.

 

If it’s been more than 6 months since you last saw a dentist for a check-up, book an appointment today and care for your body.

Are you avoiding the dentist due to the cost of living?

If you’ve been delaying or avoiding your dental check-ups due to the cost of living, you’re not alone. But you’re also not alone in fearing that this could cost you more in the long run. In the current cost of living crisis, dentist appointments are being forgotten and avoided, leading to thousands of hospitalisations each year. In fact, it is estimated there are 83,000 hospitalisations each year from preventable dental conditions*.

It may seem like the easier and more economical option to delay dental treatments, trying to avoid issues in the hope that they disappear, but this often leads to more urgent treatments which are often more costly, complex, and painful.

Getting the most out of your Health Fund dental extras

If you have private health extras, it’s worth looking into your cover to determine what dental extras you are paying for. Many Australians are unaware of whether they are using their dental benefits to the full extent and are losing out when it comes to making the most of their dental extras.

It’s also important to make sure you’re booking your appointments ahead of time, especially if your health fund extras reset in January. Stay ahead of your families appointments and avoid the rush at the end of the year when our appointment books fill up.
 

What you can do if you don’t have Health Fund dental extras

If you do not have private Health Fund extras and are unable to justify the cost of attending your dentist appointment, there are steps that you can take to care for your oral health.

Government Health Vouchers– Did you know that Government Dental Health Vouchers can support you and your family in maintaining good oral health. To be eligible, you must satisfy a certain criteria, which can differ from State to State.

Free Dental for kids*– If your child is under the age of 18 and your family is receiving Family Tax Benefit Part A or a relevant Australian Government payment, your child could be eligible for up to $1052 in free dental benefits for a range of services*. Check your eligibility here.

 

As always, make sure to maintain your oral health routine and encourage your kids to follow our 4 easy steps to maintaining good oral health:

  1. Brush your teeth twice a day using fluoride toothpaste. Don’t forget to replace your toothbrush every 3 months, or after you’ve been unwell.
  2. Clean between your teeth every day using floss or interdental brushes.
  3. Eat a healthy balanced diet, limiting added sugar intake and drinking plenty of water. Don’t forget to check with your local council to see if your tap water is fluoridated as this will help to protect your teeth.
  4. Visit the dentist regularly for check-ups and preventative care. Your dentist will check for tooth decay, gum disease and check for any signs of oral cancer.

If it’s been more than 6 months since you last saw a dentist for a check-up, book an appointment today and care for your body.

 

*Australians putting off dentist trips due to cost of living (ampproject.org)

nib Dental Care Newcastle has moved

We are excited to announce that nib Dental Care Newcastle has relocated to Marketown. This change has taken effect from Monday 24th July 2023.

Pacific Smiles Group owns and operates both nib Dental Care and Pacific Smiles Dental centres, so patients will continue to receive the same expert care and service that they’ve come to expect from us, and can continue to book appointments with their existing Dentist.

/locations/dentist-newcastle/”>Book an appointment at our new nib Dental Care Centre at Newcastle or call us on 02 4940 7100