This month we speak to Elaine Tilling, Head of Clinical Education at TePe UK, to uncover more about dental hygiene during pregnancy and beyond…
What are the biggest issues with teeth during pregnancy?
The main concern can be the imbalance of hormones. This can make women more sensitive to plaque, and despite good oral hygiene, gingivitis is common. Inflammation and gingivitis are both regular occurances during this time.
And how can we tackle gingivitis?
The best way is to hot up on oral hygiene. Pregnancy can be a good time to do this and take the time to focus on your personal wellbeing. I recommend a visit to the dental hygienist and the great thing is that this is free of charge during pregnancy and up to 12 months post pregnancy so ideal timing!
What should typical oral hygiene at home look like?
Simply put, brushing twice a day is key. Use a fluoride toothpaste and interdentals once a day and you’ve got a recipe for success!
What is the simplest thing we can remember when brushing our teeth?
Get two minutes in for each brush. Use an egg timer or an electronic toothbrush that is timed to ensure you hit that time limit. Small, simple actions make a huge difference – do what you should and do it well!
How can we encourage children to brush well?
The best way is to lead by example. Encourage regular routine of brushing twice a day. Be sure to do it for them up to the age of around four – five years. There’s lots of ways to make it fun, so don’t let it be a chore and set the scene so that they start as they mean to go on.
Should youngsters floss?
The key thing with children is that they are unable to handle their own toothbrush until the age of around seven years due to the dexterity in their hands. Children don’t need to interdental clean until the early teens as it requires a lot of dexterity, and should be under the guidance and indication of their dentist.
Should the oral hygiene process change at all from baby teeth to adult teeth?
There are one or two small changes to be made – the main one being the fluoride level in the toothpaste. We know that people do inadvertently digest toothpaste, especially youngsters, therefore the lower dose of fluoride in younger toothpaste should be used. Each toothpaste has an age recommendation so follow this and you’ll be good to go.
Is a manual or electric toothbrush better?
There’s no ‘better’ toothbrush in terms of manual or electric, it’s more about what is best for the individual. How you use it and get the most out of it will be different for different people but great results can most definitely be achieved from both.
Any final hints and tips to parents?
One thing we’ve seen is a shocking level of tooth decay in under 10s. Extraction pre COVID was the largest reason for putting child under anaesthetic. In addition to practising good oral hygiene, look at labelling on packaging when food shopping; for example, no added sugar could mean that that product already contains sugar and as we know increased sugar is a large contributor to tooth decay. Tooth decay and gum disease are preventable if we all look after our teeth properly.
More information on TePe products and lots of handy information on dental care can be found here.