October 1, 2017 Do You Know How Your Health Affects Your Child’s Teeth Before, During and After Pregnancy? Have you ever wondered when your baby’s teeth are formed? Most people would say, “after birth” however that is definitely not the case. Since they are developing early in the pregnancy, it is important to monitor your health during each stage and understand how you play a vital role in the consequences of your new child’s tooth development and structure. Conception and Gum Disease A recent study found a strong association between gum disease, “porphyromonas gingivalis,”and conception. Women who had significantly higher counts of this bacteria and anti-bodies in their saliva were much less likely to become pregnant over the study period of a year than women tested where the counts were lower or non-existent. Since periodontal bacteria is linked to other conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory infections and low birth weight births, it is important that you consider your oral health care and management very seriously. Gum Disease, Gingivitis During Pregnancy If you weren’t aware, pregnant women are 43% more likely to skip dental check-ups. These visits can be critical to your health and your baby’s future health, as noted in the Oral Hygiene and Maternity Outcomes Multicenter Study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania and University of Alabama, Birmingham. The findings of this study raise many questions about the correlation of pre-natal oral health and both the health of your baby as well as the ability to conceive. We now know that hormonal changes during pregnancy carry higher risk of gum disease in women who are pregnant. This was evidenced in this study finding across broad socio-economic groups and demographics. An excerpt from the study is noted: “… the study evaluated 648 women between the ages of 18 and 46 years who were between 8 and 26 weeks of pregnancy. Moderate to severe gingivitis was common, averaging 51.1 bleeding sites, representing nearly a third of the gingiva. The disease level was approximately 3 times higher in pregnant women compared to the average adult. The risk also was nearly universal with no significant impact based on ethnicity, socioeconomic, or insurance coverage.” “‘This new research provides a clear perspective on the epidemiology of gingivitis during pregnancy, and particularly on the universality and severity of gingivitis,’ said Robert W. Gerlach, DDS, MPH, research fellow, worldwide clinical investigations, Procter & Gamble, which supported the study. ‘Women likely have their highest levels of gingival inflammation, with nearly one third of the gingiva bleeding, during pregnancy. With the proper education and oral hygiene, pregnancy gingivitis can be effectively managed, leading to improved oral health for expectant mothers.’” First Trimester of Pregnancy Interestingly, your baby is beginning the formation and calcification of his or her teeth during the first trimester of pregnancy. By the end of your term, the baby teeth are almost completely developed and, in some instances, permanent molars as well. The mother’s health or any disruption of the baby’s normal gestational process may affect the outcome. In certain cases, this leads to discolored teeth or even misshaped or missing teeth. Early Deliveries Matter Premature babies can be at risk for temporary tooth development at birth. This may manifest itself in ways such as lack of sufficient calcium leading to discoloration of teeth or altered tooth formations. Even a difficult labor has been shown to alter changes in the structure or nature of teeth. Post Delivery Care Now your baby is finally here. You have many new tasks to perform and one should include your child’s oral health and care. Often at Caffaratti Dental Group, we see children who were given bottles with milk or sugary liquids at bedtime or babies who have nursed at will result in a much greater chance of developing serious dental decay. After feeding your baby, good infant oral care should include routine cleansing of the mouth non-invasively by wiping or swabbing the gums with water. Pacifiers may seem beneficial in controlling an infant’s fussiness and crying, but you run the risk of the child developing such an abnormally strong dependence on the pacifier into the toddler years that it becomes a permanent obsession that is very difficult to interrupt. This reliance on a pacifier is likely to cause unnatural growth of the jaw, resulting in the need of orthodontics. What’s Next? As your child transitions from the infant stage to childhood, it is important to bring them as well as yourselves to see your local Reno or Sparks, Nevada dentist. Routine visits help them feel comfortable with good oral care in the future. If you do not currently have a dentist or simply have questions on dental care or insurance, Caffaratti Dental Group has over 35 years of treating and caring for families in our local area, and we would be happy to meet with you to guide you and your family through the process. Caffaratti Dental Group Recommendations Dr. Caffaratti and Dr. Doucette believe it is critical for you to maintain your regular dental check-ups during pregnancy. Additionally, the use of toothpaste, dental floss and mouthwash can help you with your battle against gum disease and gingivitis during pregnancy. Because we feel so committed to your health we provide a special incentive for your gum disease screening and regular check-up.