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The importance of brushing and flossing during pregnancy

Australian Dental Association

Australian Dental Association

Australian Dental Association aims to encourage the improvement of the oral and general health of the public, promote the ethics, art and science of dentistry and support members to provide safe, high quality professional oral care.
Created on Oct 19, 2023 · 3 mins read

Maintaining your usual oral health routine is, even more, important when you’re pregnant since hormonal changes mean that you have an increased susceptibility to gum inflammations and infections.

Some women develop “pregnancy gingivitis”, where gums swell and become more sensitive and bleed during brushing and flossing. Should this happen to you, your dentist can keep a close eye on your gums and help you manage the condition. Generally, this condition will resolve itself after you have your baby.

Need to brush up on your techniques? We’ve got you covered!

Tips for brushing during pregnancy

1. The brush:

You are always best using a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head and a flexible neck because this will most effectively remove plaque and debris from your teeth, without damaging your teeth and gums and drawing blood.

Try to replace your brush at the first sign of wear-and-tear or every three months, whichever comes first, and if you’ve just had a cold, replace your toothbrush, so you don’t get reinfected by the germs in the bristles.

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2. Technique:

Clean your teeth systematically, starting at the back with the toothbrush bristle at the gumline or at a 45° angle, brushing gently in a circular motion, and finishing with a spit, not a rinse.

If you have an electric toothbrush, you should be guiding the moving brush head slowly from tooth to tooth following the contours of the tooth and the curve of the gums.

Regardless of the brush you use, try to avoid brushing with too much force as this can damage the surface of your teeth. As for the toothpaste? You only need a pea-sized amount to get the job done.

Tips for flossing during pregnancy

It’s one thing to make flossing a part of your dental health care routine, quite another to do it properly.

Your dentist is the most qualified person to instruct you on flossing correctly, but there are some simple tips you can follow:

Wind about 45cm of floss around your middle fingers and rest it across your thumbs and index fingers.
Use a gentle up-and-down motion that goes down one side of the tooth, just under the little collar of gum and then back up the other side (think of it as an on-the-side “c”).
If you’re not sure about the right technique, have a chat to your dentist who can show you all the right flossing moves.

If sticking your fingers into your mouth with a cord of thin filaments strung between them isn’t your idea of fun, then consider using either a less invasive floss threader or floss pick to do the job. You should be flossing once a day, either in the morning or night, or even after lunch, for at least two minutes.

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