Your Oral Health May Affect Your Baby

April 11, 2014

During the nine months of pregnancy, the last thing on your mind may be your oral health. However, it is especially important to pay attention to your teeth during pregnancy.

With pregnancy comes hormonal changes. These hormone changes increase your risk for periodontal disease- also known as gum disease- as well as gingivitis. The truth is that more than half of women will develop gingivitis while they are pregnant. The condition is called “pregnancy gingivitis.”  Be on the lookout for:

  • Redder gums
  • Swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums during brushing
  • Bad breath
  • Receding gums
  • Loose teeth

Pregnancy gingivitis can eventually lead to what is known as a “pregnancy tumor.”This is NOT a cancerous tumor. It is just an intense inflammatory reaction to food or plaque that makes it uncomfortable to eat. The condition usually resolves itself after the pregnancy.

Morning sickness can also impact your oral health. Your stomach acid can cause cavities. If you experience nausea syndromes, be sure to rinse your mouth with water rather than brushing your teeth, as brushing can cause the acid erode your enamel.

Popular to contrary belief, pregnancy does NOT cause you to lose teeth! If calcium levels are low, your bones will provide you with the needed calcium – not your teeth as many believe.

However, it is still important to maintain good oral health during this time because it can actually affect your baby. Studies have shown that women with gum disease are more likely to give birth to premature and underweight babies. Other studies have shown that tooth decay can be passed on to your child. What you eat can also affect the development of your baby’s teeth in utero, so try to avoid sugary snacks and choose healthier options such as yogurt or raw veggies.

As always, be sure to brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day, floss, and visit your dentist if you have any dental problems or concerns. Maintaining good oral health is key to keeping yourself and your baby safe and healthy during your pregnancy.

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