The Dental Cost of Pregnancy

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. 


Here’s something they don’t tell you until AFTER you become the vessel for some spawnling: pregnancy is really bad for your 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?”

Three spawnlings.

“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. 


And The Crackin’? Well, that’s just a reminder of how much I have invested already. 

Yeah, my spawnlings are so sweet they give me toothaches. 

Evil Genius Parent Award #39

Our spawnlings, Sinister (7) and Nefarious (4) are still a little young for Alien.

Pity.

Because we’re in the final month of #3’s tenancy and I’m feeling more and more like this:

Now, being an Evil Genius is hard work. Some may consider it easier when you look like you have already swallowed a small planet and thus appear capable of swallowing more.

However, it is harder to take over the world when it takes 7 minutes just to roll out of bed, let alone the additional time to chase the existing spawnlings to retrieve my glasses.

Then there are the hormonal swings, the weird cravings, and the constant nagging from minions about whether they should buy blue or pink sheets.

star sheetsStormaggedon is NOT sleeping in blue or pink sheets – he or she will be sleeping in black sheets, with star charts showing all the planets they will be expected to conquer by the time they are 12.

With all this going on, it’s no wonder that EG Dad (and the spawnlings) could do with some tips on how to manage their leader.

Natania Barron over at Wired had previously come up with a few ideas (5 to be exact) on what you can do for the pregnant geek. Not quite world conquering stuff, but it will help any EG Mum-to-be feel like they are getting back on track. Good work, Natania!

My favourite is #1 with the suggestion of the book Do Chocolate Lovers have Sweeter Babies? OF COURSE THEY DO! Personally I think it is the Dark Chocolate (with a touch of mint) that adds the EG to the spawnling, but at least this book provides the geeky reasons for doing so. I’ve already uploaded it to the iPad for reading.

The best tip I have for dealing with your EG Mum-to-be? Give her whatever she wants.

Have any other tips for managing the expectant EG Mum?

Last month of the pregnancy and I may or may not write less here. There are a lot of preps I have to do to ensure the spawnlings continuing their training in world domination while I manage the upcoming birth. DVDs to set up, food to freeze, science experiments to prepare. You can all relax – EG Inc might have to settle for just a country or two in the meantime, rather than the whole world.

Evil Genius Parent Award #29 – Happy Mother’s Day

I swear, this new spawnling hates me.

This is the roughest pregnancy I have had yet. Most of my favourite foods are off limits or suddenly taste disgusting; my sleep pattern is disturbed AFTER Nefarious finally learns to sleep through the night continuously; and the mood swings are bringing on waterworks at all the wrong times – like trying to enforce silence during Mythbusters, and then I burst into blubbering tears. WHAT IS WITH THAT?!?

So, why am I not surprised that this Mother’s Day would be any easier? In fact, my emotional vulnerability has been completely taken advantage of by EG Dad and the spawnlings. I allowed them the Easiest Mother’s Day EVER!

I strongly suspect this new spawnling is weakening my defences from the inside!! It is THIS CHILD you should all fear – we even received confirmation of the pregnancy on Dec 21. Same day as my failed World Domination experiment. Figures… It was just the warning of things to come. It would appear I am creating a Triumvirate of Spawnlings.

How did I make it easy on EG Dad and Inc? I spent my Mother’s Day attending a martial arts grading for Sinister, and then sitting in on his trumpet lesson. I then chose an easy cafe on the way home to eat lunch, followed by watching some ice-skating (spawnlings choice) while munching on churros and chocolate. My highlight was sitting on the couch and watching Doctor Who with the family that night, gleefully cheering on the Cybermen in Neil Gaiman’s latest writing for the series.

And I loved every minute of it.

No diamond earings (they get in the way of headphones during missile launch); No long, hot, baths (can’t while preggers); No sleep-in with breakfast in bed (grading, remember?). In fact, my gift was organised by me (pregnancy yoga, and pregnancy day-spa voucher from studio audience experience) – and I even received a Mother’s Day gift for EG DAD (iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaner from same studio audience experience).

WHAT IS WITH THAT?!?

However, I did get a kick out of the many Mother’s Day greetings on the web. And this one really gives me hope. I Fucking Love Science has an awesome Facebook page, where she shares a range of amazing and fantastic science-y facts. This one for Mother’s Day hit the spot:

Happy Mother’s Day

 

Why? Because it did. Just take it.

Fine, because as much as this unborn spawnling hates me, there is hope I can outsmart it yet. Whatever genius processor it has growing inside, part of it is growing inside my head too. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! So, Evil Genius MUM can still rule the world!!

And before you say it – yes, I know that EG Grandma then has the potential to overthrow me as well. But since she has chosen to relocate herself to the middle of nowhere in North Queensland (Australia, for those elsewhere) with limited resources, then hey – I still have a fighting chance.

So Happy Mother’s Day (belatedly) to all the potential EG Parents out there. I want to read plenty of stories on how evil you were on your special day.

And thanks to IFLS sharing, we now all know that, as mothers, we contain the secret weapon to outsmart our kids.

Ehhhhhx-cellent.