Morning sickness can impact your ability to maintain your dental health. Feelings of nausea can increase when you attempt to brush your teeth, making you gag and vomit. Although you may be tempted to skip brushing your teeth to avoid these unpleasant sensations, it isn't a good idea. Failing to brush your teeth can lead to a wide range of dental problems. For example, the build-up of plaque may cause tooth decay and the hormones released during pregnancy can increase the chance that you will develop gum disease. Below is a guide to strategies you can use to make brushing during morning sickness easier and less unpleasant.
Postpone brushing until later on in the day
As the name suggest, morning sickness is usually at its most severe during the early part of the day. While feelings some mild nausea may persist into the afternoon, you may find that postponing your brushing until later in the day makes the process easier. If you do vomit, you should not attempt to brush your teeth for at least half an hour afterwards, as the acid within your vomit can soften your teeth. This softening can cause your teeth to be damaged during brushing. After 30 minutes, the saliva in your mouth will have neutralised the acid, making it safe to brush.
Change your toothpaste
Another trigger for gagging during brushing is the taste and texture of the toothpaste you use. Experiment by changing the brand of toothpaste. You may find that using a milder tasting or smoother toothpaste reduces the urge to gag and vomit.
If you find you cannot tolerate any type of toothpaste, you should brush your teeth using warm water and then rub fluoride toothpaste directly onto the surface of your teeth, leaving it to dry. However, this should only be used as a short-term treatment, as it will not clean away plaque and food debris which are trapped in hard to reach places. You should start using a toothbrush and toothpaste again as soon as you can.
Invest in a smaller toothbrush
You should also consider investing in a smaller toothbrush. Healthdirect Australia advises women suffering from morning sickness to brush using a child's toothbrush. Because a child's toothbrush has a smaller head, it may feel less intrusive during brushing and help to reduce the gagging sensation.
If you would like more information about how best to maintain your dental health during pregnancy, contact your dentist for further help and advice.