We all have heard about the old saying “you lose a tooth for every child”. What do you think? Is it true or false, do you really believe that you might lose a tooth for every child? Well this old saying might be true, if proper care is not taken of your oral health during pregnancy.

Your mouth is the ‘mahadvaar’ of your body. Whatever enters your body from here gets absorbed by your body and affects your overall health, at the same time it also affects the baby’s health of an expecting mother. Hence your oral health affects and reflects your general health as well as your child’s.

Why pregnant women have more oral problems?

Taking care of your oral health is crucial during your pregnancy. All the progesterone and estrogen level changes in your body can cause gums to soften and bleed, leaving you more susceptible to gum disease, sensitivity and other tooth problems. During pregnancy your blood flow increases by 30-50%, which explains those radiant rosy cheeks but also explains the increased blood flow to your gums resulting in increased inflammation in gums in response to the plaque present.

What oral problems pregnant women face generally?

Pregnancy gingivitis:
Gingivitis is a form of periodontal disease, commonly seen during pregnancy. The gums appear red, swollen and bleed easily while brushing.

What to do: Give more attention to your oral health. Brush twice daily, gargle after every meal. Floss regularly. Use mouth rinse. Ask your dentist to get your teeth cleaned.

Pregnancy epulis:
Epulis is a localised swelling of the gums. It appears typically in later half of pregnancy, but may appear before also. It often bleeds easily, appears red and inflamed and is generally painless.

What to do: Many women get it removed usually because of bleeding or esthetic reason or just because the diagnosis is uncertain. However if left alone the epulis becomes smaller and disappears after child birth.

Tooth decay:
Pregnant women generally have sweet cravings, frequent bouts of vomiting and indigestion problems during pregnancy. All these factors together contribute to substantial risk of caries in pregnant women.

Is mother’s oral health related to child’s overall health?

Mother’s oral health has significant impact on birth outcomes and infant oral health. Mothers periodontal disease, has been associated with preterm (premature) birth of baby, low birth weight of babies, gestational diabetes, development of preeclampsia i.e. hypertension and increased protein in urine which can cause many complications in pregnancy. There have also been theories that mothers oral bacteria is transmitted to the newborn infant and increased caries developing bacteria in mother predisposes the infant to the development of caries.

However, given the relationship between oral health and general health, oral health care should be a goal in its own right for all individuals. So if you haven’t visited the dentist for a while, now is the time!