In a world slightly more health-conscious than the current one, women of childbearing age would spend their young years pursuing good physical health in preparation for future pregnancy. Thankfully, there is a growing movement among younger generations towards taking a more natural approach to health, diet, and medicine. However, bad health, bad habits, and bad food choices are still much more prevalent than good, which is already setting the foundation for our children, our children’s children, and so forth. It could be a long time, if ever, before the majority of society is thriving on good health and vitality.
It seems that taking one or two health classes as a middle or high school requirement is nowhere near enough to get young people thinking about their potential futures as parents. But preparation before conception (i.e. the early, “irresponsible” years) is what makes for healthy pregnancies, healthy babies, and healthy future generations. Many pregnancies turn out fine once the mother is aware and is following guidelines set by her doctor. However, many do not turn out fine — an increasing number, sadly. And even those who do might suffer later from certain deficiencies or susceptibility to many diseases.
Now back to what’s relevant to this blog. Because most moms-to-be are already in a state of malnourishment in one form or another (awful symptoms are only indications of mom’s nutritional deficiencies which could have been around since her own conception), this is reflected in her oral health as well. Remember, your teeth and gums are part of your entire body. They are not isolated from the effects of poor nutrition, and no amount of cleaning and surgery can undo or prevent those effects.
Back to the perfect world: Ideally, from conception we would have been fed the best of nutrients from our mothers in utero; been raised through infancy on nutrient-dense breastmilk containing the best qualities of mom’s mindful, nourishing diet; and then raised through childhood and adolescence on real food, regular physical activity, and plenty of sunshine. This is what sets the stage for strong fertility and hormone function in the future.
But this is not the case for most of us. We have sickness and disease and infections, and they must be treated. The mouth is no exception. Hormonal disruption caused by pregnancy, as many people know, can also cause increased oral sensitivity and inflammation. At least one dental visit during pregnancy is recommended, but more may be required if a woman is having an especially difficult time handling painful and/or bleeding gums, cavities, canker sores, or maybe something more severe.
Usually these problems can be cleared up with a dentist’s help after a good cleaning and examination, and also if the woman takes good care of herself regularly at home. But things get a little more complicated in the medical/dental world when a lady is pregnant or breastfeeding. She should not be exposed to most chemicals and drugs that are used nowadays for treatment, for she has another fragile life to sustain who can be greatly affected for the worse by these things.
Since I don’t want to talk your ears (eyes?) off, I’ll go into more details about these drugs and chemicals and what is or isn’t safe for pregnant/breastfeeding moms in part two.
Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles