asian woman looking at the mirror and brushing her teeth

By Associate Professor TAN Thiam Chye Head & Senior Consultant, Dr Janice TUNG Associate Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KK Women's and Children's Hospital

We often undervalue the importance of dental health, but now that you're pregnant, it's more important than ever. Here's how to keep your pearly whites shining:

1. Make Friends With Your Dentist

make friends with your dentist

A visit to the dentist every six months is the norm even pre-pregnancy, so keep it up now that you're an expectant mum. The dentist can check your teeth and gums and give you a professional clean. You should ideally undergo any needed dental treatment in the second trimester. The first trimester is a key period for your baby's development, and in your third trimester it's not ideal to lie in a dentist's chair, as this position can affect your blood flow.

Related: The Importance Of Your Dental Consultation

2. Three Brushes and One Floss

three brushes and one floss

Brush after every meal, and floss once a day to keep your teeth clean and free of debris. You might not feel like attending to dental hygiene if you're experiencing morning sickness, but it's worth sticking to your cleaning routine. Sometimes the minty freshness of toothpaste may help your nausea.

Related: Do I Need A Dental Specialist?

3. Watch Those Food

watch those food

You may be more tempted to reach for sugary snacks during pregnancy, which is normal, but the increased sugar can heighten your risk of dental decay — so stay away from sugar highs as much as possible!

Related: Pregnancy And Diet

4. Pause the Fillings

pause the fillingspause the fillings

Inserting or removing amalgam fillings, also known as silver fillings, can expose you to mercury vapour, which some experts feel could pose a risk. So play it safe, and don't undergo any unnecessary dental procedures that use amalgam until after you've stopped breastfeeding. Your dentist can recommend alternative filling materials.

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Sources:

The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth 2008, World Scientific

Healthy Start for your Pregnancy 2012, Health Promotion Board Singapore