Pregnancy Impacts the Teeth, Making It Important to Stay Healthy: Tips from a Family Dentist

Posted on: May 1, 2017

Pregnancy is one of those conditions that actually works to make teeth weaker, and many patients come in to see their family dentist during or after a pregnancy with significant problems. The good news is that being pregnant does not have to be a precursor to dental problems, and with a little advice from the family doctor and dentist, it is possible to avoid serious physical and dental problems during pregnancy. Pretty much everybody knows that when somebody is pregnant they need to lay off alcohol drinks, stop drinking large quantities of coffee and avoid fatty foods. However, there are some foods that have been ignored when it comes to the types of foods a pregnant woman should avoid. Information for this blog was gathered from an article titled "6 surprising foods you should avoid during pregnancy," on  www.foxnews.com/health.

Soda

It should come as no surprise that a family dentist is recommending laying off the soda. With extremely high levels of sugar and high pH levels, soda is bad for teeth at any time. Additionally, soda is worse for pregnant women who are already battling weakened enamel. There is a belief among dietitians that soda is actually worse for pregnant women than coffee because it is a source of empty calories and gives a nutrition-less sugar rush that is not good for the expectant mother or for the child.

Fresh Squeezed Juice

This one may actually surprise some people. As a family dentist, in agreement with many dietitians, it is recommended that pregnant moms stay away from freshly squeezed juice from the local grocery store. While it may seem like fresh squeezed juices are among the healthiest things to drink, dietitians have found out that very often people do not know if the product was properly cleaned before juicing. This can put the mother at risk for a foodborne illness. Processed fruit juices can reduce the bacteria contamination, but generally sugar is added to the juice that makes it less healthy.

In addition, from the perspective of a family dentist, it is always recommended that patients, expectant mothers, in particular, rinse out their mouth with water after drinking fresh juice. The acids in the juice can do significant damage to the tooth enamel and dentin so if the mother is drinking fresh juice at the store this could potentially lead to damage to the teeth in addition to the other health risks mentioned above.

Acid levels in sodas and fruit juices

The acid pH is very high in sodas and fruit juices and when consumed they soften the tooth enamel and dentin. It is recommended that you do not brush your teeth with toothpaste for at least 45 minutes after consuming these products so that the saliva can reharden the enamel and dentin.  The problem is compounded because of the sugars in the soda and fruit juices cause the bacteria to secrete their own acid which is damaging to the teeth. So after 45 minutes you should brush your teeth to reduce the bacteria that will be using the next sip of sugar placed into the mouth. Recent research shows that drinking one diet soda a day increases the risk of stroke by five times. So diet sodas are not any better for you than regular sodas or fruit juices.

Licorice

The consumption of any candy, cannot be recommended by a dentist. However, it is even more important for pregnant women to avoid black licorice. We know that pregnancy cravings tend to be a little on the weird side, but a pregnant woman may want to consider turning down any significant quantities of black licorice. Research published earlier in the American Journal of Epidemiology has found that children whose mother ate a lot of licorice during pregnancy had a significantly lower IQ. In fact, the study stated that the IQ level of children born to pregnant mothers who had consumed black licorice, in decent quantities, had an IQ that was the equivalent of 7 points lower than those whose mothers had not eaten any candy.

Given the damage that sweets and candy can do to the teeth, it is recommended that pregnant women in particular, and everyone else in general, try to avoid them as much as possible. For more information about oral health and healthy eating, schedule an appointment with our dental office.


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