The question of whether a baby takes calcium from its mother in the womb likely originated because pregnant women face a higher risk of tooth decay. However, a fetus does not take calcium from its mother’s teeth. Pregnancy is a critical time to consume calcium – the essential nutrient provides helps your growing fetus develop properly and lowers your own risk of osteoporosis later in life.
How Pregnancy Affects Teeth
The body does go through many changes during pregnancy which can effect an expectant mother’s oral health. The main ways that pregnancy effects an expectant mother’s oral health are:
- Acid erosion to the teeth from morning sickness or acid reflux
- Changes to dietary habits, especially increasing sugar hits during pregnancy, which can increase the risk of tooth decay
- Gum disease due to an increase in hormone levels which exacerbates the body’s natural inflammatory response to plaque
After the baby is born there are also enormous lifestyle changes that occur that increase the risk of damage to the teeth. For example:
- Changes to dietry habits especially consuming more sugar when exhausted, or snacking/grazing when feeding at night which can increase the risk of tooth decay
- Loss of the usual routine of twice daily brushing and once daily flossing leading to decay and/or gum disease causing bacteria being left on the teeth
So expectant mothers can be reassured that an unborn baby will not draw the calcium from your teeth! However, be aware that the other factors can increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease if a healthy die and good oral hygiene routine is not followed at home.
Even during pregnancy try to brush twice daily for 2 minutes and floss at least once daily. Also be sure to have a professional cleaning with your Dentist or Dental Hygienist when you are pregnant to remove any tartar. Contact our office if you have any questions or concerns!