Becoming a mother brings a lot of happiness with bundles of responsibilities. A mother always overlooks her baby’s health more than hers. But an important thing that she has to remember neglecting her own health is also not a good thing for the baby. It’s important to care for herself also while caring for her unborn child—that’s especially true when it comes to oral health.
Getting regular checkup will allow your dentist to assess your current oral health and map out a dental treatment plan for the remainder of your pregnancy. When you give attention to your teeth and gums, it can potentially make a difference for your baby, both before and after birth.
Tooth and Gum Health-
It’s common for a future mother’s tooth and gum health to decline during pregnancy. To help you understand that, here are a few things that can cause problems:
- Skipping brushing:
Everyone’s tired at the end of the day, pregnancy may lead to a whole new level of exhaustion. As a result, routine nighttime brushing and flossing can get skipped. This can lead to plaque and bacteria build-up on the tooth and eventually tooth decay.
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy:
It can threaten the health of mom’s gums and can cause pregnancy gingivitis— irritated gums that bleed because of being swelled. And yes, in case you were wondering, it’s as bothersome as it sounds. Untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis—a more severe form of gum disease that includes bone loss. Research also suggests a link between preterm delivery, low birth weight babies, and gingivitis.
- Morning sickness:
It can do a number of things in your mouth. Stomach acid makes its way into the mouth and can weaken tooth enamel—putting expectant moms at a greater risk for cavities.
- Eating more frequently:
Eating often during pregnancy is common but snacking and grazing puts teeth in constant contact with acid in the food. This also leads to increased production of acid-supporting bacteria, such as “Streptococcus mutans” which produce more acid to weaken enamel.
How Mother’s Oral Health Can Be Traced to Baby’s Health?
A mom’s oral health is connected to the health of her expected baby–and it can all be traced to the bacteria in her mouth.
When bacteria is increasing in a pregnant woman’s mouth it can enter the bloodstream through her gums and travel to the uterus—triggering the production of chemicals called prostaglandins—that are suspected to induce premature labor.
After baby arrives, the mother can potentially pass her bacteria on to her newborn (called vertical transmission). So, a mom who has lots of acid-supporting bacteria in her mouth will pass a higher amount of those bacteria to her newborn.
Brushing Teeth Can Decrease the Risk of Pregnancy Complications:
Expectant mothers who brush their teeth thoroughly can reduce the risk of suffering dangerous complications in pregnancy and take a step towards reducing the risk of future dental infection in their newborn baby. Brush with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day and after each meal when possible. You also should floss each day.
Good nutrition keeps the teeth healthy and strong; sensible, balanced meals containing calcium and limited excess acidity and sugar are best for you and your baby’s oral health. Regular cleanings from the dentist also will help control plaque and prevent gingivitis.
A mother whose oral health isn’t good is more likely to pass aggressive and damaging bacteria to her newborn. This can cause trouble down the road (think about a 2-year-old having to have a cavity filled). So, while eating the right foods, avoiding the wrong ones (e.g., candy, cookies, and other sticky foods) and making all sorts of sacrifices to make your baby perfect, moms need to keep their oral health first priority. And, make sure to visit your dentist for regular check-ups.
It may not seem like it at the time, but when mom is brushing her teeth, she’s brushing for two!