Dental Hygiene & Pregnancy

Should women avoid the dentist while pregnant? Absolutely not! In fact, there is a greater risk for gum disease due to hormone changes during pregnancy, so regular dental visits are extremely important and safe...! Be sure to advise your dental provider that you are pregnant to avoid unnecessary x-ray exposure.

Pregnancy Gingivitis
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums caused by plaque bacteria. Changes in hormone levels can cause expectant mothers to be more prone to gingivitis; in fact, more than 50% of women experience this during their pregnancy.

To help prevent pregnancy gingivitis:
•brush thoroughly two times per day (duration of two minutes total each time)
•floss daily
•invest in an electric toothbrush (may be ideal as many come with built-in timers)
•maintain your regular dental visits


Conquering Bad Breath

Do you have bad breath? If so, does it make you embarrassed or even affect your social life at times? Don't worry; you are not alone!
Below is a list of common causes of bad breath along with some helpful remedies!

• Poor oral hygiene
◦ Brushing 2x/day for 2 minutes, flossing 1x/day, using antimicrobial mouthwash 2x/day for 30 seconds minimum and brushing/scraping tongue 2x/day will help remove the plaque bacteria that can cause bad breath.

• Dental appliances (night guards, retainers, partials, dentures, bridgework, braces & permanent retainers)
◦ Be sure to clean removable appliances daily by brushing them with a soft bristled brush to remove plaque & debris. Also denture cleaners such as Efferdent are great; even for retainers! Floss under bridgework, braces and permanent retainers with floss threaders to remove debris daily. Please check with your dental professional for specific instructions.

• Smoking/tobacco products
◦ Tobacco smoke contains volatile sulfur compounds, which are partially responsible for malodor; however smoking also predisposes people to hyposalivation and periodontal disease, which are other causes of bad breath. Avoid smoking/tobacco products - speak to your doctor regarding smoking/tobacco cessation options.

• Hyposalivation – below normal amount of saliva in the mouth. Can be caused by certain drugs/medications, cancer treatment, tobacco smoking. Also common upon waking in the morning.
◦ Dry mouth can be relieved by over-the-counter products such as Biotene, which offer a full line of products from sprays and rinses to gum. Chewing sugarless gum may help with bad breath and at the same time can help to stimulate saliva flow. Contact your doctor for other salivary replacement therapies.

• Gum disease or periodontal disease
◦ Gum disease and periodontal disease can result from poor oral hygiene. Be sure to see your dental hygienist for regular 6 month cleanings and routine dental exams.

• Eating certain odiferous foods
◦ Avoid certain foods such as garlic, onion, durian or spices, cabbage, cauliflower and radishes.

*Please be aware that bad breath (aka “malodor” or “halitosis”), may be cause by a more serious dental or medical issue; please contact your dentist or medical doctor for any concerns or if the malodor persists.

Scully C. and Greenman J. (2012). Halitology (breath odour: aetiopathogenesis and
management). Oral Diseases. 18, 333-345.