Dental Tips | 29 August, 2019

Whitianga Informer - Pregnancy and Calcium

Can pregnancy cause tooth decay and cavities in teeth?

Pregnancy does not automatically damage your teeth. A baby growing in the womb cannot suck the calcium out of its mother’s teeth.

The concept of losing calcium from bones is well established, but bones and teeth are not the same. By your late teens, your teeth (other than your wisdom teeth) are no longer developing and the strong enamel layer no longer needs nutrients from your bloodstream. So, at this point, a shortage of calcium in your diet will not affect your teeth, because your teeth are no longer forming. This is in direct contrast to the bone which is constantly being reformed in response to diet, hormones, and other factors.

Every day, small parts of your bones are naturally dissolved and then re-formed. Calcium is needed for this process and a deficiency of calcium can lead to weaker bones. If the mother's intake of calcium is inadequate during pregnancy, her bones – not her teeth – will provide the calcium her growing baby needs.

Some women do experience dental problems during pregnancy. Acid reflux or vomiting from morning sickness can erode teeth. Retching can make it difficult to brush your back teeth properly. And some women have a craving for sugary foods which can lead to cavities. Pregnancy hormones can affect your body's response to plaque around the gum-line and this can cause gum problems like gingivitis.

So, expectant mums may need to spend more time brushing and flossing. With proper mouth hygiene at home and professional help from your dental team, your teeth should remain healthy throughout pregnancy.

Written by Dentists Lisa Lailey and Ryan Smagalski