I cracked a tooth.
Eating toasted fruit loaf.
And not some Han Solo in Carbonite level toasting. I’m talking lowest dial on the toaster. Warmed enough to melt the butter. With a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.
To be fair, I cracked the filling. Yes, I have fillings. I have really dodgy teeth. Despite brushing twice a day, flossing, and avoiding a lot of the really sticky sweets like toffee apples and Chupa Chups. I still have dodgy teeth.
So here I am at the dentist. The day after The Crackin’ (I like that …) because they couldn’t give me a seat until the next day.
I haven’t eaten. I haven’t had a cuppa tea. I am not a happy camper. It’s not like the benchmark is high; I am yet to meet a person who enjoys going to the dentist. But today I’m a little more grizzly than usual.
And the dentist senses that. I see him flex his fingers, wary of putting them anywhere near my choppers–except for the fact I need his fingers working to fix my tooth.
“So how many kids do you have?”
“You know, you can kind of blame them for some of this tooth decay…”
And with that little sentence, he has rocketed into first place of all the greatest dentists. Ever.
Now let’s get something straight: dental hygiene is more important than you probably give it credit.
Most of us know the routine; brush twice a day, floss daily, rinse after every meal, avoid sticky sweets.
There are also heaps of unsubstantiated stories of why pregnancy effects your teeth; the baby leeches your calcium, mum’s too busy to brush, morning sickness brings too much acid to your mouth, excess blood in the gums increases your risk for gingivitis.
The thing is, some of these are kind of true…and there’s not enough detailed research to confirm anything. Typical of any pregnancy-related research.
So which parts can I blame on my spawnlings?
- Babies leech your calcium reserves during pregnancy: true but when they do, it will come from your bones first. Apparently, any leech-able calcium in your mouth is found first in your saliva, not your teeth. While small in quota, any calcium in your saliva is beneficial for coating your teeth and adding to the enamel protecting your pearlers. If your teeth are losing any of their structure, your problems go far beyond the symbiotic relationship with your unborn;
- Morning sickness rots your teeth: true in that morning sickness… No ALL-DAY sickness will upchuck more acid into your mouth, throwing out the delicate balance of bacteria-fighting acid and enamel-protection. Add to this any reduction in the calcium in your saliva, and Holy Teeth, Batman!
- Extra blood increases your chance of gingivitis: true, for some but not a blanket concern. Increased blood flow can make your gums swell and bleed in pregnancy, but this is also because of a build up of plaque. Vicious cycle–you can’t brush your teeth properly because your gums are bleeding, but then the plaque builds up and causes your gums to bleed. Add those pesky pregnancy hormones to the mix and your gums are even MORE susceptible to infection.
Here’s a bonus for you: the pregnancy hormone Relaxin loosens up your ligaments. ALL of your ligaments. Including the ligaments supporting your jaw. So when you’re lying in the dentist chair with your mouth wide open, be aware how loose your jaw will be…
I found out the hard way, at 2am when I dislocated my jaw yawning. Yes – yawning. The day after a long session in the dentists chair, my jaw was so loose it was dislocating every time I yawned.
So what have I learnt from all of this? Pregnancy is a bitch. Sure, I could go with the wise dentist and blame it on the spawnlings but I reckon that gives them far more credit than they deserve.
The truth with pregnancy is we are not just vessels. We are powerful creators! We are investors in the future, giving ourselves to whatever may come from it. Sometimes that cost can be way too high. It is not always the glowing experience romanticised in marketing campaigns.
In the meantime, my dentist and I are working on a dental management plan. My teeth may not improve, but I have no intention of allowing them to get any worse.
Yeah, my spawnlings are so sweet they give me toothaches.