We’ve heard it over and over again at our dental office in Fontana, “Every time I have a baby, I get another cavity or I lose a tooth. I heard that the baby steals calcium from teeth. What’s the deal?” Read on to learn how you can keep your teeth healthy during pregnancy.
Can Your Baby “Steal” Calcium from Your Teeth Causing Cavities?
The answer is “no”. First of all, there is no way for a baby to “steal” the calcium or phosphates or fluoride from your teeth. I mean, how could that happen? However, I noticed my own wife had more problems with her teeth after the birth of our two children (within 10 months of each other). The poor thing was pregnant for almost two years straight. So what is going on here?
Why Do Mothers Get More Cavities?
The answer is pretty simple, but so often overlooked: stomach acid via reflux (regurgitation of stomach acid)! Just consider these FACTS:
- Many women experience nausea during pregnancy. This daily exposure of the teeth to stomach acid when they throw up will cause serious problems if it is for months on end.
- All that pressure on their insides pushes the acid into the esophagus, especially as the baby grows and starts kicking. This is particularly true if this happens at night. The acidity will sit in one’s mouth for hours at a time. This is much worse than soda.
- Nausea can make it more difficult to brush one’s teeth, simply because the taste and feel of the toothpaste can trigger more queasiness.
- Multiply everything above times the number of babies a woman has had.
How Can You Keep Your Teeth Healthy During Pregnancy and After a Baby?
There are a few very simple and effective ways to prevent cavities during and after pregnancy:
- Make sure you brush and floss at least twice/day and more if possible.
- If you throw up, rinse your mouth with water and spit right away — the longer the acid sits on the teeth, the worse the damage
- Avoid acidic foods and drinks, such as tomato sauces, orange and fruit juices, sodas, etc.
- Do NOT use abrasive toothpastes.
- Regularly use chewing gum with Xylitol sweetener, which bacteria can’t process. Chewing gum stimulates saliva to wash the acidity away.
- Use an over-the-counter fluoride-containing mouth rinse like ACT, not something with alcohol, such as Listerine or Scope.
- Talk with your dentist about prescription toothpastes with fluoride to keep your teeth strong.
Babies don’t cause cavities, but all that nausea leading to acid reflux during and after pregnancy can.