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Truth Behind My Smile

Celebrity baby news turns the spotlight on gum health

March 22, 2011

It seems that in celeb-land, the accessory of the moment isn’t a Hermes Birkin, but rather a baby bump, as more famous faces announce their pregnancies. The latest to join the pregnant pack is Mel B, like her fellow Spice Girls Victoria Beckham and Emma Bunton, she’ll be giving birth later this year. Kelly Brook, Holly Willoughby, Natalie Portman and rock chick Pink (to name but a few) are all blooming with health, but pregnancy can bring oral health problems that are not to be ignored

Many pregnant women notice that their gums bleed more in pregnancy and in fact they are more susceptible to gum disease during this time. Pregnancy hormones can make gums swell and feel more tender. High levels of progesterone make the gums more sensitive to the bacteria in plaque making it easier for gum disease to become established. Similarly, anyone who already suffers from gum disease may find it progresses faster once they are pregnant.

Gum disease has been linked to foetal wellbeing, so it’s not just mum’s health at stake, making oral health a priority for the nine months and beyond. It takes time for the hormones to settle to normal levels after the birth so the extra precautions shouldn’t end in the hospital
Gum disease is the most common cause of teeth loss and is easily prevented by a good dental hygiene routine. Tell tale signs include bleeding gum, but the health consequences are more far reaching than tooth loss. Gum disease has been linked to heart health and Alzheimer’s disease so your pregnancy is a good time to establish the best oral health routine possible. You need to be gentle with those swollen gums, but don’t ignore the warning signs. Here are our top five steps for good oral health for those nine months and beyond:

  1. If you are planning on becoming pregnant get ‘gum fit’ first, visit your hygienist and make sure your gums are as healthy as possible before conceiving
  2. Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
  3. Floss at least once a day is essential for healthy gums
  4. Avoid snacking in between meals and remember that sweets and sugary drinks will cause tooth decay. Pregnancy can make you crave sugar, particularly in the early months, so if you can’t control your snacking, brush your teeth or chew gum afterwards
  5. Have regular dental checks and make sure you see a hygienist who can help you prevent gum disease. During your pregnancy you should see your hygienist more frequently, especially if you’re worried about bleeding gums
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