September 7, 2021
According to the website The Worlds Counts, 140 million babies are born worldwide each year. Though many expecting mothers know the importance of taking care of their bodies, did you know that neglecting your oral health care while you’re pregnant can sometimes have adverse effects on the health of your baby? Here are some of the potential risks of not practicing proper pregnancy oral care and how to prevent them.
Health Risks to Mom
A decline in tooth and gum health during pregnancy is a common issue for soon-to-be moms. To help you understand why that is, here are a few factors that can lead to oral health problems:
- Excess tiredness from pregnancy often leads to expectant mothers neglecting their nightly oral health routines. This can cause plaque and bacteria to build-up and lead to tooth decay.
- Due to hormonal changes, pregnant women are at higher risk for pregnancy gingivitis, which is characterized by irritated, inflamed, or bleeding gums. Untreated gingivitis can lead to a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis and potential bone loss.
- Stomach acid entering the mouth because of morning sickness can weaken tooth enamel, putting pregnant women at a greater risk for cavities.
- Since pregnant women typically eat more often, this frequent snacking means their teeth are put into constant contact with harmful acid, which can eat away at their tooth enamel.
- Chewy or gummy prenatal vitamins should be avoided since they can stick to the teeth and contain sugar that harmful bacteria feeds on
Health Risks to Baby
If pregnant women don’t take care of their oral health, this can have a negative effect on the health of their baby. When excessive bacteria grow in a pregnant woman’s mouth as a result of poor oral hygiene, it can enter the bloodstream through the gums and travel to the uterus. This can trigger the production of compounds made of fats that have hormone-like effects called prostaglandins which are suspected to induce premature labor. After the baby is born, the new mom can potentially pass her bacteria on to her newborn. This is called vertical transmission and can result in higher numbers of harmful bacteria in the baby. Research also suggests there’s a link between preterm delivery, low birthweight in babies, and gingivitis.
How To Reduce Chances of Complications
Always tell your dentist if you are pregnant so they can take extra precautions to ensure your care is safe for you and the baby. Keeping up with your oral health care by brushing for two minutes twice per day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing once per day can help you avoid dangerous complications in your pregnancy. Visit the dentist at least twice per year to ensure there aren’t any oral health issues that need to be addressed. Good nutrition can also help keep the oral cavity healthy and strong, so make sure to eat balanced meals containing calcium, and limit excess sugar and acidity.
If you’re planning on getting pregnant, your dentist can help make sure you and your baby enjoy a smooth pregnancy. Keep up with your oral hygiene so you and your baby can both live happy, healthy lives!
About the Practice
For nearly thirty years, Dr. John T. Michaels has prided himself on providing excellent oral healthcare to his community. Along with Dr. David Michaels and the rest of the Norwood Dental Care team, he proudly treats patients in both Norwood and the surrounding communities of Dedham, Westwood, Walpole, and Canton. The office is conveniently located to make quality care more accessible. Call their office at (781) 805-3476 or visit their website to learn more about proper oral healthcare during pregnancy.
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