Having a baby. An exciting time of life, but also one with many, many new challenges. Your body is changing, and some of those changes can impact your oral health. Your oral health can also impact your pregnancy, so here are a few things to watch out for while working on that new baby!
Dental Changes From Pregnancy
Gum Disease Pregnancy gingivitis can be a problem. In fact, estimates range from 30% to almost 100% of women who are pregnant experience some level of gum disease while pregnant. The hormones that your body needs for that baby to grow increase blood flow all of the body and can make your gums swell. You may notice gums being sore or bleeding. These symptoms may warrant a visit to your dentist to keep any infection under control.
Pregnancy Tumors Are you seeing little bumps between your teeth? Maybe these bumps bleed? This is normal and nothing to be scared of. Pregnancy tumors, in spite of the super scary name, aren’t malignant and don’t cause problems. Sometimes these bumps will appear on swollen gums, but they typically go away on their own, and if they don’t they can be treated by an oral surgeon.
Tooth Loss There is an old saying, gain a child, lose a tooth. While tooth loss isn’t a certainty, there does seem to be some connection between the number of children and the number of lost teeth in grandmas. One study showed that women without children only lost one tooth during their lifetime (actually 0.8 teeth, but how do you lose 8/10th’s of a tooth, that’s just silly), while mamas with 4 or more children averaged losing 5 teeth. The study even adjusted for socioeconomic factors, so it’s not just the simple fact that 4 kids cost a lot and mom can’t afford to go to the dentist.
Common thought can speculate that this can be caused by the baby taking calcium from a mother’s body, but study’s show this doesn’t impact teeth. While a baby can leech calcium from mom’s bones if she isn’t intaking enough of the mineral, this does not apply to teeth. Instead, the pregnancy gingivitis and swelling of the gums can cause teeth to loosen and fall out. Also, the oestrogen and progesterone, which can increase 100x over the levels a woman has in her body before becoming pregnant, may limit the body’s ability to deal with the plaque and bacteria in teeth. The increased plaque can lead to tooth decay and eventual tooth loss.
Be Aware of Dental Health During Pregnancy
It’s easy with so much going on during a pregnancy to forget about something as simple as your dental health. The good news is that just being diligent about your daily oral hygiene routine is likely enough to keep all your teeth.