Young pregnant woman brushing

How Your Oral Health Affects Your Baby During Development

Becoming a new mom-to-be means making all sorts of sacrifices, but sacrificing your oral health can do more harm than good. Mothers who care for themselves will care for their newborns better than those who don’t. While the prospects are amazing and exciting, having health problems alongside pregnancy isn’t. As dentists and advocates for families, we emphasize the importance of caring for mothers’ oral health and helping them learn more about the changes that happen to their bodies, including their oral health.

Visiting your dentist will allow your dentist to assess your health, design dental plans and help keep your oral health in check during the remaining time of your pregnancy. Taking care of your teeth and gums will make a difference for your baby before, during, and after their birth. Here’s what we know happens to mothers when they don’t care for their teeth.

How Poor Oral Health Harms Your Pregnancy

New mothers have so much to handle, and besides the usual symptoms, the pregnancy exhaustion that comes at the end of each day is real. When that exhaustion leads to skipping brushing and flossing, that only leads to bacteria buildup within the mouth. That bacteria can eventually lead to tooth decay, which ultimately causes even worse conditions to develop, including:

  • Pregnancy Gingivitis: Hormonal changes can cause pregnancy gingivitis, irritating the gums due to how the hormones throughout our bodies increase blood flow, causing inflammation. When untreated, it can lead to periodontal disease, which can cause bone loss. Periodontal disease can lead to a greater risk of preeclampsia and premature births, according to studies from the Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research.
  • Enamel Loss: Nausea and vomiting can be a pain to deal with, but the acidity of our stomach acids can weaken our tooth enamel, creating a greater risk for cavities.
  • Cavities: Eating more is often a common side effect of pregnancy, but eating sugary snacks can feed the bacteria within our mouths, even more, creating cavities and ultimately leading to tooth decay.
  • Mouth Sensitivity: When our mouths lose enamel, suffer from gum disease, and experience more cavities, our teeth can become more sensitive to certain foods and food temperatures. For mothers, this problem can be especially troublesome.

How To Reduce Your Risks Of Pregnancy Complications

Expecting mothers who brush their teeth regularly will reduce these risks significantly and reduce the risks of dental infections for their newborn. Having a proper, balanced diet will be able to give your newborn the calcium and vitamin D needed for healthy teeth later on in life, and your dentist will be able to provide you with a full dental plan that meets the needs of both you and your baby. The best place to reduce your risks is at your dental office.

Maureen Karl, DDS, FAGD
As a graduate of the University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine in 2004, Dr. Maureen Karl continues to hone her craft through continuing education. Dental patients throughout the Granbury, TX area know they can rely on our practice for skilled dental care using the latest practices.