F.A.Qs on Maternal Oral Health (Part 1)

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It comes as no surprise that pregnancy comes with a lot of problems. Many expectant mothers are flooded with lots of information from internet search engines and from friends and families. But how do we discern what is true from what is actually a fallacy? The painful part is that this is propagated from generation to generation without ascertaining any background check to it. Well, take a breather, sit tight and let us go through the following frequently asked questions (F.A.Qs) together.

  1. Does an unborn baby really steal calcium from his or her mother’s teeth?

Have you heard that popular old wives’ tale that says “Gain a child and lose a tooth”? Many have attributed losing a tooth at child birth to the depletion of calcium reserves in the tooth. This is common belief is false. If the calcium levels in the expectant mother’s body is low, additional calcium required for the baby’s development comes from the mother’s bones and not the teeth. Nevertheless, during pregnancy there are hormonal balances that increase your risk of tooth decay and also bleeding gums. If your oral health is poor during pregnancy, you are likely to have a much more severer form of gum disease referred to as periodontal disease. This is a condition where the supporting structures of the teeth are affected and if this continues for a long time without any form of intervention, the teeth become mobile and you may end up losing them. Periodontal disease is not a condition peculiar to only pregnancy but quite common amongst individuals with comorbidities such as diabetes as well as the older cohorts in society.

  1. Does an expectant mother’s sense of taste change during pregnancy?

Dysgeusia simply means a distortion in the sense of taste. Even though dysgeusia is a fairly common symptom during pregnancy, it becomes an topic of prime concern if it occurs outside pregnancy due to an underlying health problem. Dysgeusia usually occurs during the first trimester of pregnancy and it resolves as the pregnancy progresses. It is associated with a sour or metallic taste in the mouth. Dysgeusia will cause you to occasionally hate food that you normally love and enjoy foods you normally dislike. There is no cause for alarm. This stems from the fact that pregnancy hormones, mainly oestrogen play a role in controlling your sense of taste. The hormonal imbalances reflect in the fluctuations of taste.

  1. Is it unsafe to see the dentist during pregnancy?

Many pregnant women shy away from visiting the dentist during pregnancy. They are of the notion that this can affect the developing foetus. In contrast, visiting the dentist during pregnancy is rather essential to the baby and mother’s health. Did you know that recent studies have shown that ignoring your oral care during pregnancy puts you at risk of premature delivery, low birth weight of the baby and other oral-health related conditions? Apart from brushing twice daily and flossing the teeth, you should also endeavour to see you dentist for a regular checkup as well as for professional dental cleaning to keep gum disease-causing bacteria and tooth decay-causing bacteria at bay. Besides, if an expectant mother needs an elective dental procedure, the dentist will carefully assess, discuss and often plan the treatment for the second trimester of pregnancy, which is known to be the safe period. In spite of that, dental x-rays are safe during pregnancy and help during diagnosis to ensure proper treatment.

Join me next week so we discuss more frequently asked questions regarding oral health during pregnancy. Make oral health a priority from today.

Thanks for reading.

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