แม่ท้องฟันผุ อันตรายต่อทารกในครรภ์ - Dental caries during pregnancy

Dental caries during pregnancy may be harmful to a developing fetus

Dental caries, commonly known as cavities, represent a prevalent oral issue. Unfortunately, many people underestimate or overlook the seriousness of tooth decay.

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Dental caries during pregnancy may be harmful to a developing fetus

Dental caries, commonly known as cavities, represent a prevalent oral issue. Unfortunately, many people underestimate or overlook the seriousness of tooth decay. This article sheds light on the alarming consequences of cavities and gingivitis for oral health, focusing on the impact on pregnant women and the developing fetuses in their wombs.

Cavities are stealthily harmful.

Oral issues, regardless of your identity, have a pervasive effect on your overall quality of life. Beyond causing pain, conditions such as tooth decay and gingivitis result in the following negative consequences in your daily life.

  • Difficulty consuming food
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nutrition problems
  • Bad breath
  • Visible pits in your teeth affect your confidence.

These complications directly impact your health, compromising your overall well-being and immune system. Additionally, the substantial medical expenses associated with treatment and the time spent visiting a dentist can adversely affect your emotional health. Moreover, when combined with preexisting or chronic diseases, oral problems can reduce the effectiveness and increase the complexity of treatment of the primary diagnosis.

Pregnant women must exercise caution regarding oral health because they possess risk factors that make them susceptible to the issues. Moreover, maintaining optimal oral hygiene becomes more challenging during pregnancy, and there is a potential for the transmission of oral bacterial infections from mothers to their children in the womb.

Why should pregnant women be cavity-free?

During pregnancy, fluctuations in female sex hormones such as estrogen and progesterone can weaken the immune system. This hormonal shift also fosters the proliferation of certain groups of oral bacteria, contributing to oral health issues in pregnant women.

Moreover, pregnancy can lead to a condition known as dry mouth. Human saliva naturally contains antimicrobial properties, so a reduction in saliva production amplifies the growth of bacteria responsible for oral problems.

ทำไมคุณแม่ตั้งครรภ์ ถึงไม่ควรฟันผุ - Why should pregnant women be cavity-free?

A compromised immune system reduces saliva production, and a dry mouth diminishes the body's capacity to combat bacteria.

Research has identified Prevotella intermedia as the predominant bacterium thriving in the oral cavity of pregnant women, notably linking it to periodontitis. This bacterium shows a 55-fold increase in growth in pregnant compared to non-pregnant women.

Additionally, there are other potential risk factors for compromised oral health in pregnant women, including:

  • Morning sickness, vomiting, and nausea during pregnancy can result in the oral cavity being consistently acidic due to stomach contents, which creates an environment conducive to the growth of oral bacteria. Morning sickness may also deter mothers from brushing their teeth, as it can trigger vomiting, leading to inadequate oral hygiene practices and an elevated risk of cavities and gingivitis.
  • Emotional lability, compounded by hormonal shifts, physical discomfort, and emotional health challenges, can deter pregnant women from engaging in daily activities like early rising, tending to plants, or exercising, which, in turn, can contribute to deteriorating oral health.

Furthermore, studies indicate that if pregnant women with compromised immune systems experience severe infections, it may lead to complications such as preterm births, preeclampsia, and low birth weight. Therefore, inadequate oral hygiene can have adverse consequences on the developing fetus.

แม่ฟันผุ ลูกในท้องเสี่ยงมากขึ้น - Dental Caries During Pregnancy

Do cavities during pregnancy increase the likelihood of babies developing cavities?

A mother and her developing child share a physical connection. If the mother has cavities, it indicates a substantial presence of cavity-causing bacteria in her oral cavity and body. This group of bacteria can be transmitted from person to person, allowing the mother to pass them on to her baby. Research shows that elementary school children whose mothers experienced severe tooth decay are at a higher risk of developing cavities when compared with their peers.

High cavity burdens of mothers correspond to elevated incidence of cavities in their babies.

A high prevalence of cavities in mothers corresponds to a heightened likelihood of dental caries in their babies. Children inheriting these bacteria from their mothers are more susceptible to oral issues if they consume snacks or desserts excessively, neglect good oral hygiene practices, or fail to brush their teeth effectively. Consequently, when children develop cavities, it has a more significant impact on their family members' quality of life than they might realize.

  • Impact on Children: When children suffer from cavities, gingivitis, or abscesses, they experience pain, leading to discomfort and frustration, which can hinder their social and overall health development, affecting their personality. Pain also makes it difficult for them to eat and reduces their appetite, potentially resulting in malnutrition and increased vulnerability to diseases.
  • Effects on Parents: Parents are inevitably affected as they may have to regularly take their children to the dentist, necessitating time off from work. Parents with young children may also experience sleep disturbances due to nighttime discomfort or whining. This disturbance can significantly impact the entire family's sleep quality.

These issues are easily preventable by adopting good oral hygiene practices, including regular brushing and avoiding foods that promote tooth decay. These preventive measures can lead to a better quality of life for both parents and their children.

However, it's important to note that some individuals or their children may still develop cavities despite following similar oral hygiene practices as practiced by others. This phenomenon is attributable to variations in the oral cavity's structures. Consequently, oral care techniques can differ for everyone, making it the responsibility of a dentist to assess individual oral cavities and provide tailored recommendations for appropriate care.

How to practice good oral hygiene during pregnancy

Practicing good oral hygiene during pregnancy is essential for both the mother's and baby's well-being. Here are some crucial guidelines to follow:
Pre-Pregnancy Dental Checkup: Before becoming pregnant, schedule a dental checkup with your regular physical examinations to assess your oral health, ensure the proper scaling of oral plaques, and address any existing oral conditions. It's easier to treat these issues before becoming pregnant.

Regular Dental Checkups During Pregnancy:

  • First Trimester: Aim for two dental appointments.
  • Second Trimester: Schedule one dental appointment.
  • Third Trimester: Continue with one dental appointment.

เมื่อรู้ว่าตั้งครรภ์ ควรเตรียมตัวดูแลช่องปาก - How to practice good oral hygiene during pregnancy

Importance of Trimester-Specific Checkups

Dental health can change during each trimester, so regular checkups are crucial. Dentists can provide tailored advice on oral care during each visit.

Managing Dental Issues During Pregnancy

If dental problems arise during pregnancy, consult a dentist promptly to prevent the spread of diseases and maintain oral health. Non-emergency dental procedures can generally wait until after delivery, except in severe cases like life-threatening oral infections when immediate dental treatment is mandatory. 

Ideal Timing for Dental Procedures

The second trimester is the most suitable period for non-emergency dental procedures. During the first trimester, there's a risk of miscarriage, and in the third trimester, the baby's weight pressing down on large veins at the back of the abdomen can lead to discomfort and low blood pressure when lying in a dental chair.

In conclusion, seeing a dentist before planning for pregnancy and maintaining regular dental checkups during pregnancy is crucial for the mother's well-being and the baby's oral health. Prioritizing oral hygiene contributes to a better quality of life during pregnancy and ensures the baby's dental health gets off to a good start.

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Published: 24 Sep 2023

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