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Don’t Lose a Tooth for Every Baby: Pregnancy and Oral Health

Oral health during pregnancy is especially important for the pregnant woman/person. The old wives’ tale that says a pregnant woman loses a tooth for every pregnancy should not be accepted as the norm. Perhaps this saying comes from the fact that with poor oral health and a poor diet, a mother’s teeth were negatively impacted during pregnancy. This is why maternal and infant health programs and doula programs require education in teaching oral health to pregnant and postpartum families.

Poor oral health contributes to many health problems, including premature births. Educating pregnant women/people on current public health policies for better birth outcomes is one of the responsibilities of SMC Full Circle Doula Birth Companions. Support improving oral health by encouraging fluorides, a healthy diet, avoiding sticky sweets, brushing twice a day, and daily flossing.

Remind pregnant women and people that seeing a dentist is a part of prenatal care. Once a woman/person decides to get pregnant, they should see a dentist before conceiving to ensure their dental needs are taken care of. The best time to visit the dentist is in the first trimester of pregnancy, as this will prevent problems for the remainder of the pregnancy. By practicing oral health habits and visiting a dentist, a pregnant woman/person is providing optimal conditions for the healthy development of fetal teeth and preventing tooth decay. Preventive habits should begin early in pregnancy and be maintained as a lifestyle for good, long-term health.  (Med Pregl May-Jun 2002;55(5-6):213-6.doi: 10.2298/mpns0206213b.)

Pregnancy Dental Needs

Alterations of oral health during pregnancy: because of hormonal alterations, there is an increased incidence of dental diseases: gingivitis and low salivary pH (inflammation and bleeding gums). Teaching oral health will help the natural development of hormonal alterations.

Download: This is an oral health toolkit designed for health care professionals. I encourage doulas to download portions to help teach oral health to pregnant and postpartum clients for improving maternity care.

Marketing: You can have your logo added to the oral health materials. Along with educating, it is an opportunity to positively market your business. This toolkit makes it easier than ever to help connect moms to the oral health answers they need, providing healthy tips to patients and conversation tactics to providers like you.

Video: Watch the Oral Health from the Oregon Health Authority – Traditional Health Workers Video on how to teach oral health to you your clients.

Additional Resources

Do women gain a child and lose a tooth?

Is parity a cause of tooth loss? Perceptions of northern Nigerian Hausa women

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Shafia M. Monroe, DEM. CDT, MPH
Office Number: 503-927-8357 | Email: Shafia@shafiamonroe.com
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