Having a child means losing a tooth; Fact or myth?
It was once thought that with the birth of every child meant the mother should expect to lose a tooth. The theory was that the developing baby needed calcium to grow and therefore would deplete the calcium from the mother’s tooth. Thankfully this theory has well and truly been disproven. A developing child will receive all its nourishment from the mother’s diet via the placenta. This is why it is important for expectant mothers to eat a well-balanced and nourishing diet. Even mothers in developing countries that may be very deficient in calcium will not experience a reduction of calcium in their own teeth.
A recent study does show that mothers with more children do experience higher levels of tooth loss than mothers with no children. It is thought this is more likely to be due to food cravings for sweet or acidic food, or even the effect of morning sickness hindering the mother’s ability to clean her teeth effectively. Many Mums notice an increase in bleeding gums during pregnancy. This is pregnancy hormones highlighting an underlying inflammation in the gums. The solution is to increase efficiency of cleaning and not ignoring the bleeding areas. Many Mums are incorrectly told that bleeding gums are quite normal in pregnancy and not to worry about it. This is poor advice as gum inflammation in pregnancy is unhealthy and should be addressed. In cases where inflammation has become gum disease, there is a small risk that this could affect the unborn baby.
How to increase the efficiency of oral cleaning during pregnancy
- Check your toolkit: there is no need to buy the most expensive brush or toothpaste on the market but you do need a brush that is efficient. All brushes should be thrown out after 3 months.
- Most people tend to do a better job with an electric toothbrush. Ask your hygienist how to use your brush in the most efficient way
- You will need something to clean the sides of the teeth where the toothbrush can’t reach. Bottle brushes such as TePe, Vision or come in a range of sizes that can access all areas of your mouth. Floss where these little brushes can’t access
- Anti-bacterial mouthwashes can lull you into a false sense of security. The most efficient means of bacterial plaque removal is with brushes and interdental aids (see 3)
- Use disclosing tablets to check the efficiency of your cleaning. These are available from the practice, online, supermarkets and chemists
Eat well during pregnancy
It is important not only for the health of the baby but also the health of the expectant Mum to eat well. A diet high in refined carbohydrates, fast food and low in essential vitamins and minerals will is known to be a contributing factor to many conditions including gum disease.
Following all this advice will help to keep your teeth, gums and baby healthy. There is no need to assume that every pregnancy will result in a lost tooth.