Motherhood is a very challenging time of life. It is a time of intense emotional and spiritual activity and a lot of hormonal changes, which can cause an emotional rollercoaster ride. Both being pregnant and having a small child entails a lot of stress, and this has physical symptoms as well. Besides weight gain or loss, bone aches, pain in legs, feet, hips and back, stretch marks and a compromised immune system, giving life to another human being also causes dental troubles, a few of which I would like to catalogue here.
When pregnant, your immune system is compromised, and, as with all instances when immune systems are compromised, the rate and severity of the bacteria that cause periodontitis explodes. The gums are generally a very good indicator of how well your immune system is doing, and the same is true vice versa; when your immune system is down, it will show on your gums. This is why puffy gums, bleeding gums and other periodontal issues are the most common ailment during pregnancy.
A surprising fact is that women are more likely to lose their teeth if they have children, and the more kids they have, the more likely they are to have missing teeth! In a study made in Japan, for instance, 1 500 women were tested for dental problems between 1990 and 2005, and the more kids a woman had, the larger the chance that they had missing teeth. Most women in the study had two children, a quarter had three, and only one in thirty women had four or more children. How much this study can be used to establish a direct correlation is not entirely clear though, as Japanese families tend to have just one or two children, and having four children is very rare, and usually only low income and marginalized families have that many kids, and marginalized groups are known to have worse access to health care, thus having worse dental health as well. But we do know that minerals are leached from the bones and teeth, minerals like calcium and metals that are needed to make organs and the skeletal structure of the child to be.
The most important thing is to be aware of the fact that your dental health is compromised, and that any sign of puffiness or inflammation of the gums should be an alarm bell, and should get you moving to the dentist office pronto. To reflect this, many countries which offer maternity benefits offer free dental care for pregnant women and new mothers. This is an excellent choice, and will produce healthier babies, as well as mothers who are able to recover from giving birth sooner, meaning they can go back to work sooner, and capitalizing on this idea is the motive behind governments giving free dental care to mothers and pregnant women, and it is a win win situation. Hopefully, all countries will be willing and able to provide this service to all of their female citizens.
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