So, Aunty Sharon might have warned you that you will lose a tooth when you’re expecting a child. The old wives’ tale that cautions a woman that she will lose a tooth for every baby she bears is false! Yet, one can’t help but wonder why such a story would even materialise.
It turns out that pregnancy isn’t the direct cause of tooth loss. Rather, it is the demands of pregnancy that could potentially result in tooth decay and dental problems.
The foundation of such an odd warning is due to the fear of calcium loss. While it is indeed true that there will be calcium loss if the expectant mother does not have adequate calcium intake during pregnancy. Usually, the loss of calcium is made up quickly after breastfeeding has stopped. The loss of calcium from the baby vessel does not come from teeth, but her bones. Rest easy, mummies-to- be, your teeth (and calcium) are safe!
The side effects of pregnancy might potentially result in some dental damage because:
1) Hormonal changes during pregnancy
Some women might be susceptible to higher risks of gum diseases such as:
2) Morning sickness
Vomiting can damage teeth because gastric reflux can erode your teeth with strong stomach acids. This is especially so when one experiences frequent morning sickness. Some precautions one could take would be
3) Increased cravings for sugary food
If you caught the sweet tooth bug, this presents higher risk of tooth decay. Increased sugar intake does not allow your saliva – which contains minerals such as calcium and phosphates - to restore vital minerals for teeth strengthening. To curb your cravings for sweets, consider other healthy alternatives such as fresh fruit, and brush your teeth after having sugary foods. Sugar doesn’t allow saliva to restore its alkalinity in the mouth, resulting in higher chances of tooth decay.
4) Poor diet during pregnancy
If your diet were devoid of certain nutrients, it would be more challenging for tissues in your mouth to fight against infection. This would encourage gum inflammation, which might result in periodontal disease. It is absolutely crucial that you maintain a balanced diet, choose nutritious
healthy alternatives for snacks. While it is understandable that some mummies-to- be might not feel well enough to have proper regular meals, do ensure that your snacking between meals is not laden with sugar.
5) Fear of fetal safety during pregnancy
Dental care during pregnancy is absolutely safe. Although some women might fear that treating dental issues might require exposure to X-rays, antibiotics and anesthesia, it is far more dangerous to leave it untreated. Research suggests that there is a link between induced preterm delivery and low birth-weight fetuses, and gingivitis. This is due to excessive bacteria entering the bloodstream through your gums. The bacteria may enter the uterus, prompting a production of chemicals (prostaglandins), which are suspected to trigger premature labour.