Poor Oral Health in Pregnancy – Risk to your Baby

This article has been written by Dr. Sushma Sharma who is a medical practitioner. We would like to thank her for joining us and sharing her thoughts with the world.


It is ”Old wives tales” Don’t brush your teeth when you are pregnant or do not go to dentist too. But the fact is, strict oral hygiene regime, maintaining healthy teeth and gums during pregnancy is essential. Not only during pregnancy but during the early stages of motherhood its equally important to keep meticulous oral hygiene. Elevated levels of hormones are responsible for exaggerated gum response to plaque build up .

tips-for-oral-health-pregnancy

It is ”Old wives tales” Don’t brush your teeth when you are pregnant or do not go to dentist too. But the fact is, strict oral hygiene regime, maintaining healthy teeth and gums during pregnancy is essential. Not only during pregnancy but during the early stages of motherhood also its equally important to keep meticulous oral hygiene. Elevated levels of hormones are responsible for exaggerated gum response to plaque build up .

The concept that gum disease might influence systemic health is not new, gum disease is basically an infection, and a bacterial reservoir which can actually get into the bloodstream and target the fetus, potentially leading to preterm labour and low birth weight babies (Birth weight less than 2,500 g). Taking good care of dental needs while you are pregnant can help prevent preterm and low birth-weight babies.

Bacterias in gum diseases produce the agents of inflammation like cytokines and prostaglandins (IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α). Exaggerated quantities of these proinflammatory agents may stimulate labour. These mediators can also cross the placenta, thereby causing fetal toxicity. High concentrations of these inflammatory agents in pregnant women can even rupture the membranes of uterus, resulting in premature birth and growth retardation of the fetus.

Also Read: Myths and Facts Associated with Dental Health

How to take Good Oral Health Care in Pregnancy?

  • American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) announced new oral health guidelines for pregnant women and infants in 2009.
  • Oral health education: All pregnant women should receive counselling and oral healthcare during pregnancy
  • Oral Hygiene:Tooth brushing and flossing on a daily basis are important
  • Diet: Dietary education for the parents, including the potential effect of foods and beverages on their oral health, helps maintain good dental care.
  • Fluoride: Using a fluoridated toothpaste and rinsing every night with an alcohol-free, over-the-counter mouth rinse containing 0.05 percent sodium fluoride have been suggested to help reduce plaque levels.
  • Caries removal: Routine professional dental care.
  • Delay of colonization:  Education of the parents, especially mothers, on sharing utensils, food and cups can help prevent the transmission of cavity-causing bacteria
  • Xylitol gum: Recent evidence suggests the use of xylitol chewing gum (four pieces per day by the mother) can decrease a child’s caries rate.

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