Health Effects of Vaping & E-cigarettes

What is a Vape?

E-Cigarettes are battery-powered electronic devices which heat liquid (E-liquid) and produce an aerosol inhaled by users (termed “vaping”). The main ingredients of E-liquids include: propylene glycol, glycerol as humectants, flavouring and often nicotine.

Oral Health Effects

There is little evidence as to the effect E-cigarettes have on oral health. However, E-cigarette companies claim use of these products can improve oral health by providing an alternative to conventional smoking. 2

Mouth and Throat

A variety of symptoms involving lips, tongue, hard palate and soft tissues were reported by E-cigarette users. Most commonly patients reported: dryness, burning, irritation, bad taste, bad breath, pain, oral mucosal lesions, black tongue and burns. Studies comparing E-cigarette and CC symptomatology showed less adverse effects were experienced by E-cigarette users, with some former smokers citing improvements in taste and mouth odour. Non-smokers using E-cigarettes reported greater levels of oral discomfort compared to those utilising nicotine replacement therapy.

Mucosal changes secondary to E-cigarette use appeared to be minor and temporary. Specific impacts relating to E-cigarette flavours were noted. Menthol and cinnamon were associated with increased mouth irritation, and throat symptoms increased with citrus, sour, cola and custard. Nicotine increases short-term blood flow to mucosal tissues, with the suggestion menthol may act to mask airway irritation likely caused by high nicotine levels. 

Is it safer for me to use E-Cigarettes than smoking conventional cigarettes?

No. There is insufficient evidence to say it is safer, hence if you are a non-smoker it is not safe to use them.

Do you recommend that I use E-cigarettes to help me quit smoking?

In isolation, no. However, as a smoking cessation tool E-cigarettes may potentially be effective when combined with a structured ‘quit smoking’ plan. This involves combining the use of E-cigarettes with other evidence based behavioural therapies and counselling. Involving your GP and national smoking cessation services as a combined approach is the most effective strategy irrespective of the cessation tool (eg: E-cigarettes, nicotine patches etc).

Is Vaping dangerous to my dental and oral health?

Yes. The oral effects of E-cigarettes based on use by non-smokers may include: mouth and throat discomfort, oral mucosal lesions, changes in the
oral microbiome, dental and periodontal damage. There is also evidence that vaping can cause changes at the cellular level of oral tissues, and that
constituents of E-liquid/vapor and downstream metabolites of these constituents have potentially dangerous genotoxic and carcinogenic
properties. Thus, there is likely to be an increased risk of oral and oropharyngeal cancer. Furthermore using an electrical device with a battery
carries a risk of explosion, causing traumatic injury which could cause permanent harm.

Is it better to ‘vape’ rather than smoke cigarettes after I’ve had dental/oral surgery?

It is recommended to refrain from smoking or vaping for as long as possible after oral surgery. Conventional smoking is thought to damage healing
mechanisms, affect blood vessels, and contribute to poor filling of the tooth socket with blood. Regarding dry socket (Alveolar osteitis), no studies exist to enable a comparison between E-cigarettes and CC on this topic at present.

Dentistry that doesn’t cost the Earth

At Tooth Dental we believe that dentistry shouldn’t ‘cost the Earth’.  In 2015 when Dr Lou set up Tooth Dental, she wanted to make the practice as ECO Friendly as possible.

Our eco ethos doesn’t affect our high standard of dentistry, strict infection control procedures or patient care, it simply means that at each stage we have considered how we could reduce our carbon foot print from the reception, tea room, the surgeries, sterilisation room and even the bathroom!

Our aim is to reuse, recycle and reduce our waste, water and energy as much as possible.

Reception and patient lounge:

  • We use LED lighting were possible.
  • We aim to be paperless and opt out of paper correspondence wherever possible. All our medical history forms are conveniently completed on an ipad, saving time and paper
  • We recycle all our toners and batteries at appropriate facilities.
  • Any professional printing is done on recycled paper or stock card (but we’d still prefer to just email)

The tea room:

  • Our staff created a policy for no disposable coffee cups, water bottles and takeaway containers. We love our keep cups!
  • We have a comprehensive recycling system. All food waste is placed in our Bokashi bin and then used to fertilise our plants and gardens. All cardboard, plastic and bottles are separated and recycled. We are working really hard to minimise what goes into our general waste

In the Surgery:

  • Dentistry is traditionally a large contributor to single-use plastic. We use reusable instruments and materials wherever possible. If it can be autoclaved, we use it!
  • We don’t offer amalgam fillings, all our composite resin fillings are free from Bisphenol A (BPA)
  • We said no to paper/ plastic cups! Our patient cups are all stainless steel and are autoclavable.
  • We use digital radiographs, eliminating the need for film and disposing of hazardous developing chemical. Plus reducing radiation exposure for patients.
  • Our patient packs are no longer in paper bags, we said goodbye to patient brochures and simplified the pack.
  • We offer great ECO and biodegradable alternatives to traditional oral care products (Eco Floss, Bamboo tooth brushes and tooth paste tablets)
  • We use autoclavable microfibre cloths in the sterilising room, rather than paper towel or single use microfibre towel

In The bathroom:

  • We use cotton hand towels in our bathroom, these are washed and line dried.
  • Our toilet paper is 100% recycled by Who Gives a Crap

Things we are working on changing:

  • Changing all of our lab impressions to a digital scanner, reducing impression material, packaging and transport.

We are continuously looking at new and improved ways to reduce our footprint, if you have any suggestions, we’d love to hear them!

Oral Care Product Recycling

We are a proud collector for the Terracycle Colgate Oral Care Brigade. We encourage all patients to bring their used oral care products to their next appointment. Anyone from the local community (you don’t have to be a patient) is welcome to drop their dental products in our recycle bin free of charge. We have even got some of our local Kindy’s involved helping us collect products!

We donate all proceeds from our recycling program to a children’s charity, The Starlight Foundation.

What can be recycled?

Any brand of:

  • Empty floss containers
  • Cardboard packaging from toothpaste & toothbrushes
  • Empty toothpaste tubes and pumps
  • Electric toothbrush heads

Sugar, Acid and your teeth.

Sugar and your Teeth (source: @rodlong via Unsplash)

There are 2 things in your diet that have an effect on your teeth:

  1. Sugar
  2. Acid

It is not only the QUANTITY of them you consume, but also the FREQUENCY that effects your teeth. If you keep sugary foods and acidic drinks to meal times rather than snacking and sipping in between meals, it will have less of an adverse effect on your teeth than having them throughout the day.

Sugar and your Teeth (source: @rodlong via Unsplash)
Sugar and your Teeth (source: @rodlong via Unsplash)

Sugar, diet and your teeth

Acid is produced when the bacteria in your mouth break down sugar. The acid dissolves the tooth surface, which is the first stage of tooth decay.

Examples of sugary foods:

  • Soft drink and Energy Drinks
  • Flavoured milk
  • Biscuits and Cakes
  • Chocolate and Lollies
  • Certain breakfast cereals and cereal bars

If you want to check how much sugar is in food, check the packaging label before you buy. The ‘carbohydrates of which sugars’ tells you mow much sugar is in food.

  • More than 22.5g of sugar per 100g is high
  • 5g of sugars or less per 100g is low


Acid in drinks slowly dissolves your teeth causing wear. It is very important to limit the amount of acidic drinks you have

Examples of acidic drinks:

  • Lemon/citrus fruits added to water
  • Fizzy drinks including soda water
  • Fruit juice
  • Wine

Do not to brush your teeth for at least 30 minutes after having an acidic drink. Acidic drinks weaken your tooth enamel, so brushing too soon can actually cause more damage.

You can reduce the impact of acidic drinks by rinsing your mouth with water after to dilute the acid.

Any questions? Can the friendly team at Tooth Dental help you with a teeth issue? Please click here to make an online booking or give us a call on 3366 1737. If you’d like to use our contact form for your enquiry please click here.

Why straighten my teeth?

Why straighten my teeth? Let’s get a few things straight!

There are various reasons why people chose the orthodontic route. These include:

  • Aesthetics
  • Function and speech
  • Periodontal
  • TMJ pain
  • Even wear
  • Pre – prosthodontic work

It’s important to remember that no one ever died from crowded teeth, so have a think about what’d you’d like to do if your crooked teeth aren’t impacting on your life.

Why straighten my teeth? (source: @jibaro foto via Unsplash)

Braces VS Invisalign

The traditional braces we are used to seeing every second teenager sporting originally started in the 1970’s, although back then they looked dramatically different to the modernized style that is used now. They work by gluing ceramic or metal brackets to each tooth that are connected along a wire by a series of rubber bands.

Invisalign came about around 1999. They are more often than not chosen by adults who don’t want an obvious indicator that they are undergoing orthodontic treatment. Invisalign works by a series of custom clear plastic retainers, each slightly different from the first. The aligners are worn for 22 hours a day and changed every two weeks.

Permanent VS removable

There are pros and cons to both options, it’s important to weigh both of these up before making your decision. Braces are permanently fixed to your teeth for the duration of the treatment, thus they are working around the clock, all the time, 24/7. The downside is that they take more time to clean and are quite visible.  Having braces involves monthly visits with the possibility of emergency visits such as a wire trying to murder you or a bracket has decided it wants to be free and fall off. And showing your last meal every time you smile if

Invisalign are removable and because of this it is much easier to eat and clean your teeth. Also, because they are clear retainers they are harder to see, the only people who normally notice are those in the dental field or fellow recipients of Invisalign. The downside is because they are removable, they don’t work if they are not in your mouth. If they are not in your mouth, they are no longer doing their job and you either lose all your hard work or dramatically extend your treatment time.

This being said teeth will move whenever a force is applied to them and are oblivions as to what that force is, braces or Invisalign. Theoretically the length of time for treatment should be the same but as braces are more reactionary and can’t be removed they are usually finished before Invisalign.  The factors that do come in to play are things such as:

  • Severe malocclusion (a fancy word for the teeth not sitting together properly)
  • Compliance
  • Complexity
  • Hygiene
  • Cost
  • Discomfort

After weighing up the pros and cons you can see that there are many similarities. If you feel self-conscious, then Invisalign might suit you better. If you are interested in straightening your teeth, book in for a complimentary Invisalign consult.

Maintenance is relatively simple, however it can be time consuming. Every time you eat or drink anything other that water the trays need to be removed and teeth cleaned and the aligners washed before putting them back in your mouth.

Uh Oh! Need an Emergency Dentist in Ashgrove?

Looking for an emergency dentist in Ashgrove? Please read on. In any case of dental emergency it is very important to contact the dentist as soon as possible to try and find out if the situation requires immediate treatment or if it can wait until morning. An emergency trip to the dentist can be required for many reasons including an aching tooth, trauma, a broken tooth or a facial swelling.

In cases of dental trauma, such as if you’ve tripped over and broken your front tooth, treatment is recommended within 60 minutes in case the nerve of the tooth has been exposed. Immediate dental treatment is also needed for teeth that have been pushed out of position, into the gums or knocked out completely. This is a true emergency and immediate treatment can help save your tooth or teeth.

A chipped or broken tooth is often a pain, like when you bite down on a fork by mistake or crunch on a nut and something extra crunchy comes out with it. This tooth or teeth will often need attention within a couple of days if its painful, or within a week if its not painful. Left untreated you can have food packing into the broken area, decay and gum swelling can develop. We can usually fix your tooth right up and prevent all these problems.

An aching tooth can be absolutely awful. It can keep you awake at night, making you tired and just feeling dreadful. Often aching teeth are the result of decay making its way deep into the tooth close to the nerve. This happens over time, and left unchecked can cause nerve pain or even an infection or abscess. The best thing to do is to get your tooth looked at by the dentist within a couple of days. It can be just a filling in some cases, but is usually something more involved and the sooner you get to it the easier it is to fix. To prevent these kinds of aches regular checks and cleans help to prevent cavities or treat them nice and early so its simple and easy.

A facial swelling in the lower face is often an abscess or infection of the gums or tooth that has spread to the cheek. This infection needs to be addressed quickly as the infection can spread beyond the cheeks below the chin and can become life threatening. Your dentist may need to drain the swelling, prescribe antibiotics, remove a tooth or start a root canal treatment to save the tooth.

In cases of dental emergency, don’t wait. Get in contact with the dentist as soon as possible to find out what you need to do. If you need an emergency dentist in Brisbane please click here to book online or call 3366 1737. 

Emergency Ashgrove Dental Studio
Emergency Dentist in Ashgrove (source: @ibrahimboran via Unsplash)

All About Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth Sensitivity (image via @relaxmarco on Unsplash)

Tooth sensitivity is experienced as a short sharp pain when consuming cold, sweet or acidic foods and drinks. It can also be experienced with an intake of cold air or by touching the tooth.

All About Tooth Sensitivity

Sensitivity happens when the dentine layer, the layer underneath the enamel, becomes exposed. The dentine layer of the tooth is composed of small tubules that move fluid in response to changes in the tooth’s external environment like when eating or drinking. These tubules connect directly with the pulp of the tooth which is where the nerve is located causing the sensation of pain.

Tooth Sensitivity (image via @relaxmarco on Unsplash)
Tooth Sensitivity (image via @relaxmarco on Unsplash)

The dentine layer can become exposed if the teeth have been brushed too hard causing the enamel layer to thin. Or if  brushing has caused the gums to recede away from the tooth, exposing the cementum or the root surface of the tooth. It can also become exposed if a diet high in acidic food or drink or even reflux causes the enamel to dissolve

Treatment of sensitivity involves addressing the cause. It may mean switching to a soft toothbrush, using a lighter tooth brushing technique, or re-evaluating your diet. We always recommend a toothbrush should look fresh out of the packet despite months of use. If it’s a little worse for wear, please change it! Poor/overzealous brushing technique leads to gum recession and enamel abrasion.

Sometimes the use of a sensitive toothpaste can alleviate the symptoms, or a small filling is required to block the dentine tubules and protect from further damage.

A trip in to see us is always recommended as other causes of sensitive teeth can be caused by decay, grinding or clenching, cracks in teeth or leaking fillings.

Any questions? Can the friendly team at Tooth Dental help you with a sensitive teeth issue? Please click here to make an online booking or give us a call on 3366 1737. If you’d like to use our contact form for your enquiry please click here

All About Baby Teeth

Baby Teeth Eruption Chart (source:

It’s an exciting time when your child gets their first tooth, but all of a sudden there is something else to look after. Along with the sleep deprivation and copious amounts of drool due to teething we start worrying about their teeth. Is it coming through in the right position? What is that weird looking spot? Why is my child shoving their whole fist in their mouth?

Here is some information to try and ease your mind.

All About Baby Teeth

Generally your child will develop their first tooth by the age of one, although this can vary from not yet having any teeth to being born with their first tooth already. The baby teeth continue to come through until the age of 3 having a total of 20.

Around the age of 6 is when the first adult tooth starts to come through and baby teeth start to fall out. This will continue until around the age of 10-12 where all the adult teeth bar the wisdom teeth will have come through and the last of the baby teeth will have fallen out. Normally there will now be a total of 28 teeth.

Please have a look at this baby teeth eruption chart prepared by the American Dental Association:

Baby Teeth Eruption Chart (source:
Baby Teeth Eruption Chart (source:

Cleaning baby teeth

Start with a washer over your finger on the gums. When teeth first appear brush twice a day using a soft tooth brush and low fluoride kids toothpaste. (eg. Milk teeth, Colgate first). Since babies naturally swallow the toothpaste do not use adult toothpaste. Start flossing once the teeth are touching, often when molars are through.

Early loss of baby teeth can be from anything such as decay or trauma and can result in orthodontic concerns. Decay can be prevented by fluoride application which helps strengthen the enamel. It should be introduced to the enamel from about 6 months old through tap water and low fluoride toothpaste. If a baby tooth does fall out the space can be maintained to allow the adult tooth to come through properly.

Their first dental visit can start from when the first couple of teeth come through when you have your appointment. Getting them used to the sounds and environment, maybe sitting on your lap and letting the dentist have a quick look at their teeth and slowly progressing to them laying back in the chair and have a clean done. If at first they won’t allow this try not to stress, they will eventually. What’s most important is that they leave with a positive experience and have enjoyed their visit.

Any questions? Can the friendly team at Tooth Dental help you with a baby teeth issue? Please click here to make an online booking or give us a call on 3366 1737. If you’d like to use our contact form for your enquiry please click here

Pregnancy and Dentistry


Visiting a dentist while pregnant is highly recommended for your own wellbeing and that of your unborn child. Routine dental treatment is safe during pregnancy, although some procedures or medication should be avoided in the first 3 months, so be sure to tell your dentist you are pregnant. Many treatments are elective (tooth whitening etc.) and postponed until after pregnancy, there is care that a pregnant woman needs and sometimes treatment cannot wait, but can be done with minimal risk. .


There is a long-standing myth that a woman looses a tooth for every child she has. Of course this is not the case, but circumstances and changes in the mouth make it appear so. The myth goes on to claim that the foetus draws calcium directly from the mother’s teeth and results in weakened teeth that decay and may be lost. In fact the mother’s diet (and nutritional supplements) give the developing foetus all the calcium he or she needs to develop. Increased cavities are the result of many factors such as an increase in snacking and poor oral hygiene.

Intraoral Changes

Starting about the second month of and continuing for the rest of the pregnancy, hormone changes affect the gums or gingivae. The gingivae are far more susceptible to irritation from plaque (soft) or calculus (hard) deposits on the teeth. An exaggerated inflammatory response can result in mild redness or gingivitis, to swelling of the gingivae between the teeth. These swellings are painless, but do bleed easily. Most pregnant women experience some form of inflamed gums even with good dental hygiene. Additionally, looseness of the teeth may be noticed, especially in the third trimester. These gingival changes usually reverse after the baby is born.

Pregnancy and Dentistry Information from Tooth Dental. (source: @suchajka via

Gum disease and pregnancy

If gum disease becomes severe, the infection can affect an unborn baby’s development.  Severe gum disease in an expectant mother can increase the risk of premature birth and of delivering a low birth weight baby. Signs of gum disease include:

  • bleeding gums
  • red gums (instead of pink)
  • swollen gums
  • bad breath.


  • Brush twice a day and floss before you go to bed to avoid plaque build-up. Gingivitis is most common during the second to eighth months of pregnancy.

Morning sickness, vomiting and acid reflux

Pregnant women who experience morning sickness with vomiting and/or acid reflux are at high risk of tooth erosion*.

To reduce risk of tooth erosion and damage to your teeth after vomiting/reflux you can: 

  • Rinse your mouth immediately with water or a mouth rinse. (e.g. Add a teaspoon of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to a cup of water to rinse and spit after vomiting)
  • Chew sugar free gum to stimulate saliva to neutralise and wash away acid.
  • Smear a little bit of toothpaste over your teeth with your finger.
  • Wait at least 30 minutes before brushing to avoid damaging softened enamel surface.

For further advice, speak to your dentist or an oral health professional.

* Tooth erosion is the gradual wearing away or dissolving of the outer enamel layer of your teeth.

Could gingivitis affect my baby’s health?

New research suggests a link between pre-term, low birth weight babies and gingivitis. Excessive bacteria, which causes gingivitis, can enter the blood stream through your mouth (gums). If this happens, the bacteria can travel to the uterus, triggering the production of chemicals called ‘prostaglandin’, which are suspected to induce premature labour.


Will pregnancy affect my oral health?

Expectant mothers (and women who take some oral contraceptives) experience-elevated levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. This causes the gums to react differently to the bacteria found in plaque, and in many cases can cause a condition known as ‘pregnancy gingivitis’ 65 to 70% of all pregnant women developed gingivitis during this time! Symptoms including swollen, red gums and bleeding of the gums when you brush.

Pregnancy gingivitis usually starts around the second month of pregnancy and decreases during the ninth month. If you already have gingivitis, it will most likely get worse during pregnancy. Remember that the bacteria in plaque (not hormones) are what cause gingivitis. Brush twice a day and floss before you go to bed to avoid plaque build-up. Gingivitis is most common during the second to eighth months of pregnancy.

What are “pregnancy tumours”?

Pregnancy tumours (pyogenic granuloma) are inflammatory, benign growths that develop on the gums as part of an exaggerated response to the irritants that cause periodontal disease. These ‘tumours’ are rare, usually painless and develop on your gums in response to plaque. Although they are not cancerous, they should be treated. Pregnancy tumours usually subside shortly after childbirth.

Should I receive dental treatment while I’m pregnant?

Dentists recommend that major dental treatments that aren’t urgent be postponed until after your child is born. The first trimester, the stage of pregnancy in which most of the baby’’ organs are formed, is the most crucial to your baby’’ development, so it is best to have procedures performed during the second trimester to minimise any potential risk.

If I do need treatment, what drugs are safe?

If you need to have dental work done during your pregnancy, research has shown that some acceptable antibiotics include penicillin, amoxicillin and clindamycin but avoid tetracycline, which can cause discoloration of your child’s temporary and permanent teeth.

What if I’m hungry between meals?

During pregnancy, many women have the desire to eat between meals. While this is a normal urge, frequent snacking on carbohydrate-containing foods can be an invitation to tooth decay. The decay process begins with plaque, an invisible sticky layer of harmful bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. The bacteria convert sugar and starch that remain in the mouth to acid that attacks tooth enamel. The longer sugars are retained in your mouth, the longer the acids attack. After repeated attacks, tooth decay can result.

Eat nutritious, well-balanced meals made up of foods from the five major food groups: bread cereals and other grains; fruits; vegetables; meat; fish; poultry and protein alternatives and more yoghurt and cheese. Try to resist the urge to snack constantly. When you need a snack, choose foods that are nutritious for you and your baby such as raw fruits and vegetables and dairy products.

(source: via @realkayls at

What can I do to keep my mouth healthy during pregnancy?

To help prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease, brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque. Be sure to clean between your teeth daily with dental floss or interdental cleaners.

What if I’m pregnant and need a dental x-ray?

As a general rule we attempt to avoid x-rays and treatment requiring x-rays until after the baby is born. However, an x-ray may be needed for dental treatment or a dental emergency that can’t wait until after the baby is born. Untreated dental infections can pose a risk to the foetus, and dental treatment may be necessary to maintain the health of the mother and child. Radiation from dental x-rays is extremely low. However, every precaution is taken to minimise radiation exposure. A lead apron minimises exposure to the abdomen and should be used when any dental x-ray is taken.

What is Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)?

What is Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)?

Temporomandibular disorder relates to pain and dysfunction as a result of a problem with the jaw, jaw joint and/ or surrounding facial muscles that control chewing and jaw movement. TMD results in a large range of symptoms that vary for each individual and can include:

  • Significant face and neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Damaged teeth and tooth pain
  • Stiff/sore jaw muscles
  • Limited mouth opening
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Ear pain and ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Painful clicking
  • Popping, clicking or grating of the jaw

In many cases, the exact cause of TMD is not clear, but Dentists often believe that symptoms often arise from problems with muscles of the jaw or parts of the jaw itself. Other contributing factors can include:

  • Injury to the jaw, TMJ, nerves or muscles of the head and neck e.g heavy blow, whiplash
  • Day and night grinding or clenching the teeth resulting in a lot of pressure on the joint (Bruxism)
  • Presence of osteo or rheumatoid arthritis in the TMJ
  • Emotional/ psychological stress
  • Sleep disorders and breathing difficulties
  • Dislocation of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket of the jaw

How can TMD be treated?

There are several options to consider when discussing with your dentist. Your dentist will assess all aspects of your condition and help you determine the most appropriate choice for your individual condition. Available treatment options address different aspects of the condition depending on the case and they vary in cost, complexity and the expected results, including how long results last and potential complications. While no single treatment has proved universally effective for all patients, our aim is to treat patients holistically. Current treatment options include:

  • Relaxation/ Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Oral appliances called splints or bite guards
  • Massage/ Manipulation/ Exercise of the TMJ and associated muscles
  • Muscle relaxant injections (also known as Botox, Dysport) into the muscles of mastication
  • Orthodontics (braces) and dental work/ adjustment
  • TMJ surgery

Dentists strongly recommend using the most conservative, revisable treatments possible so to not further contribute to the problem.

Any questions about TMD or TMJ? Please contact the friendly team at Tooth Dental by calling 07 3366 1737 or click here to enquire online – we’d love to help! 


Which dental treatments are safe when you’re pregnant?

Pregnancy Dental Treatment

Congratulations, there is so much to organise over the next 9 months. Between doctor’s visits, setting up the nursery and cooing over tiny shoes – it is important to schedule a trip to the dentist, ideally in the second trimester. Which dental treatments are safe when you’re pregnant? Read on to learn more. 

Is it safe for expecting mums to see a dentist?

Absolutely – and there are many excellent reasons to schedule a trip to the dentist before bub arrives. We can help with some pregnancy-related symptoms you may be experiencing, and get your mouth in tip-top shape before bub arrives. Research suggests that a mother with a healthy, decay free mouth is far more likely to have a baby with a healthy mouth. There are also dental conditions such a periodontal disease which can affect the developing baby, and need to be treated fairly urgently. Cosmetic procedures, such as whitening, should be postponed until after baby arrives.

Which dental treatments are safe when you’re pregnant?

Please let us know if you think you are pregnant and how far along you are. Dentistry is very safe in pregnant women, but there are some procedures which should be postponed.

Does being pregnant affect my mouth?

There are many strange and unique symptoms that come with being pregnant, and the mouth is certainly not immune to this.

  • Pregnancy Gingivitis: 4 in 10 women will experience bleeding gums during their pregnancy, although the number could be much higher. The hormones that lead to the development of the placenta will increase the leakiness of the delicate blood vessels in the gingiva. You may notice that the gums bleed more when you brush or floss, and can lead on to more serious conditions if left untreated. Gingivitis is caused by plaque build up and can generally be resolved easily with professional dental cleaning and oral hygiene techniques.
  • Periodontal disease: Periodontal disease is a more serious form of gum disease, and can result in permanent bone loss and gum recession as well as being linked to preterm and low birthweight babies. Premature delivery is associated with a whole raft of lifelong problems for your baby. The symptoms of periodontal disease include bleeding when brushing or flossing, bad breath or loose teeth.
  • Pregnancy Tumours: 1 in 10 women may experience pregnancy tumours, which are localised swellings in the gingiva which are an extreme inflammatory reaction to plaque and may appear like a small raspberry. They tend to resolve spontaneously after birth, and generally don’t need to be treated, unless they interfere with your bite, or are painful, or persist after birth.
  • Increased Decay Risk: Pregnant women are at a higher risk of dental decay. This may be due to increased snacking, cravings for sweet or carbohydrate-based food, morning sickness eroding away enamel, and difficulty with brushing and flossing brought on by an overreactive gag reflex. There is evidence that the bacteria in mum’s mouth will colonise baby’s mouth through kissing and tasting of food. If mum has a high decay rate, there is a good chance that baby could get cavities when the teeth come through. It is important to have any cavities treated before baby is born. Modifications to oral hygiene and diet can also help in reducing cavity-causing bacteria.

Can I have X-rays when I am pregnant?

Which dental treatments are safe when you’re pregnant? How about x-rays?

While we tend to postpone routine x-rays during pregnancy, they may be needed for treatment (root canal for example) and are quite safe. Digital Dental x-rays have the lowest radiation of any medical x-ray, and the risk can be further reduced by use of a lead apron. It is far better to get a correct diagnosis and treatment by taking an x-ray, than leave an expecting mother with painful infection in her mouth. An infection may have a greater effect on bubs development than an xray.

Can I have local anaesthetic when I am pregnant?

Local anaesthetic is totally safe to use in pregnant women. If you need any fillings, extractions, or root canals, you can feel assured that the procedure will be pain free and the numbing will not have a negative effect on bub. There is no link between local anaesthetic and premature birth, miscarriage or birth defects.
What about medications prescribed by the dentist?
Please tell us if you are on any medications, including over the counter. If we need to give you an antibiotic or pain killer, we will ensure that we prescribe the medication with the lowest risk. Please talk to us if you are concerned.

Lou’s Top Tips for Pregnant Ladies:

Try rinsing your mouth out with water if you have been sick. Add a teaspoon of bicarb soda to water which will neutralise any acid in your mouth. You shouldn’t brush immediately after vomiting, as the enamel is softened and may be brushed away- Become the best brusher and flosser you have ever been. Now is the time to try an electric toothbrush. My floss lives in the shower on my conditioner bottle, try flossing while you condition your hair! If you are retching when you brush, an electric toothbrush or a child’s tooth brush with a smaller head may help. Try switching toothpaste brands if certain flavours aren’t agreeing with you.

  • You will be eating far more often and may not have a toothbrush handy – try rinsing your mouth with water and chewing sugar-free gum if you aren’t near the tooth brush
  • Book your continuing care recall appointment with tooth dental – we can’t wait to hear your exciting news and look forward to welcoming a new patient (baby) to the practice.

Please contact the friendly team at Tooth Dental by calling 07 3366 1737 or click here to enquire online – we’d love to help!